By Luke Klink
The “2013 Fun On the Frozen Flambeau” will be twice as nice this year as the Ladysmith Lions Club is expanding its popular annual fundraiser to include live music, a fireworks show and many more family-oriented events. The two-day event concludes with the club’s second annual ice fishing contest, where organizers are hoping to have three thousand or more tournament anglers take to the ice on Dairyland Flowage.
Events are planned from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23, and from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 24.
There will be plenty of food and refreshments served both days by the Hawkins and Bruce Lions Clubs. There will be food, beverages, raffles, silent auctions throughout the weekend.
There are four access points for the tournament and on-ice activities: Point Road from the east (site of the fishing contest headquarters), Leonhard Lane from the south, Park Road from the east and Dairyland Road from the north.
The event was able to grow into a two-day event this year due in part to more than tripling of the number of major sponsors that wanted to participate, according to Ladysmith Lions Club President Dick Moore. “It was in reaction to all the good things we did with the money and everything going for a good cause. I think everyone wanted to be part of it,” he said.
A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to seven area food pantries — Indianhead, Hope Lutheran and Ladysmith Baptist, all in Ladysmith; Holy Trinity in Conrath, Sheldon Community Food Pantry, Bruce Area Food Pantry and Hawkins Area Food Pantry. Moore added the food pantries will also be able to receive matches from other sources to do even greater good for their communities. That buying power makes last year’s fundraiser net total of $25,000 actually more like $40,000 total raised.
“We are pretty much on a mission to put money back into local programs and when people are buying tickets they say they are buying tickets for the cause. That is pretty nice to hear,” Moore said. “Even though we had 1,500 fishermen last year there certainly is room for 1,500 more without crowding anybody.”
About 1/3 of the money raised went into ongoing efforts to add new fish cribs and make other improvements to the Dairyland Flowage fishery.
After a successful inauguration last year, this year’s event features a Saturday line-up that starts at 10 a.m. and runs throughout the day. It includes a vintage snowmobile show, snowshoe and cross country ski touring, a model airplane show, ice and snow sculpting and geocaches.
New this year will be a Tee-A-Way golf contest held on the ice Saturday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday.
There will also be live music starting Saturday afternoon with two bands scheduled to play in a tent set up at the end of Leonhard Lane, up the hill from the Take a Kid Fishing lake access. A country western band concert featuring “Big Back Yard” will be held inside a large heated tent from 3-6 p.m., Saturday, followed by the popular regional band “The Twerps” from 7-10 p.m.
Crazy Bob’s Fireworks will have a display on the ice at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, between the band performances.
New this year will be a Knights of Columbus Pancake Breakfast served at the top of the hill on Sunday from 8-11:30 a.m.
This is also the day of the second annual Ladysmith Lions Club Ice Fishing Contest. A total of $20,000 in cash and prizes will be given away, a 53 percent increase from last year’s prize total.
Prizes will be awarded in five fish categories: northern pike, walleye, black crappie, bluegill and yellow perch. The winning fish category will be determined by a spin of the wheel at the end of the tournament with a $1,000 grand prize in the “wheel spin” category and a $200 prize for second place. The four remaining categories offer prizes of $250 for the largest fish and $50 for second largest.
There will also be a roped-off area for young anglers to help them hopefully tie into a good mess of fish.
Sasquatch will also be making the rounds on the lake.
There is plenty of ice. Roads have been plowed on the ice.
Tickets that get participants into the fishing contest and live music concerts are now on sale, $10 each or three for $25 in advance. Tickets are $10 the day of the event. Winners must have a signed ticket to collect any prize. Winners do not need to be present to win raffle prizes, which will be drawn on Sunday. Prizes include two Packers canoes. All anglers with a ticket under the age of 16 will receive one complementary rod and reel from the Rusk County Wildlife Restoration Association.
The Ladysmith Lions Club has also donated to the Amvets Memorial, Wisconsin Lions Foundation, Wisconsin Eye Bank, Leader Dog Program, six area families at Christmas, six local scholarships, Time Out Family Abuse Shelter, Women With Courage, Kinship, Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center, Boy Scouts of America, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin, Lions Club International Foundation and Rusk County Ambulance Service.