Holdyn Willford and David Harvey, both 6 from Lanesboro, enjoyed catching some fish together at the bass pond on Saturday.  CHRIS OLSON/REPUBLICAN-LEADER
Holdyn Willford and David Harvey, both 6 from Lanesboro, enjoyed catching some fish together at the bass pond on Saturday. CHRIS OLSON/REPUBLICAN-LEADER
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Despite the cold and snow, several hundred people braved the weather to attend the memorial fishing tournament in Lanesboro last Saturday. The tournament itself has been around for six years, however, this tournament held a special purpose for the folks of Lanesboro.

The tournament was held in remembrance of the three Lanesboro natives who tragically died in a car accident in January, Blake Overland, Matthew Erickson and Andrew Kingsbury. Many people from Lanesboro and beyond attended the event. Several who had gone to school with the three men came from the Mississippi River Valley and Wisconsin to participate in the event.

According to Rob Wagner who helped organize the event, this year 306 people participated in the tournament, 98 of whom were children. This total attendance was a little larger than last year, though the weather may have played a factor in many remaining at home.

Wagner's fellow organizers include his wife, Ellen, Erik and Laurie Overland, Karla and Scott Strom, Rita and Brad Kelly and Becky and Jim Iverson. The tournament is sponsored by the Root River Saloon.

Wagner was pleased with the way the event unfolded and said, "I would like to say thank you to all the people who attended, those that helped with donations and donated their time and, most of all, the families for coming."

He added, "It was a great day of celebration on behalf some great guys."

The tournament winners were Scott Kellogg catching a northern, Jess Benson who caught a trout, Mel Kinneberg caught a bass, Terry Hanson with a crappie, Brandi Royette caught a sunny and Randy Berekvam who caught a perch.

The money raised from the tournament will go to a scholarship for Lanesboro High School seniors. Ellen Wagner reported that enough money was raised to have three scholarships, one in each man's memory, given this year and next. A donation will also be given to the Winona County Dive team who searched the Mississippi River following the accident.

"We could not have done it without all of you," Ellen posted on Facebook following the tournament. "Thank you to everyone that bought shirts, came to fish, donated their time to help us, bought silent auction items or donated 'just because!' Can't wait to see you all again next year!"