Minnesota Fishing Challenge Teams Raise More Than $611,000

Minnesota Fishing Challenge Teams Raise More Than $611,000

Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge (MNTC) has a long history of helping people break free from the chains of addiction and restoring broken families. When you combine fishing, faith, and freedom from addictions, amazing things can happen. The Minnesota Fishing Challenge is one of the largest fundraisers that help fund this good work each year. Leading up to this event, anglers set another annual record by raising more than $611,000 to support MNTC drug and alcohol programs statewide. The cumulative amount generated via this family-friendly tournament since 2008 exceeds $5 million. Top fundraisers Stu Nelson and Rich Brummer from Cloquet are passionate about restoring lives of people who feel enslaved by drugs and alcohol; their hard work brought in $102,000. In all, 14 of the teams raised at least $10,000 to support the needs of MNTC

June 1 brought beautiful weather and good fishing conditions. The 120 two-person teams fishing the 16th annual Fleet Farm Minnesota Fishing Challenge brought plenty of fish to the scale to the delight of several hundred onlookers.

“This event attracts people from all walks of life with one goal in common: to save lives,” said tournament director Bernie Barringer. “From professional anglers and fishing celebrities to youth and seniors, those fishing this event are focused on fun and raising important funds for an amazing cause: saving the lives of people trapped in chemical addiction. We are seeing amazing things happen and restoring broken families.”

Tournament host Al Lindner observed, “The weather was great with lots of fish caught and we thank the Lord for another miracle with the amount of funds raised that will help Teen Challenge meet the needs of hurting people throughout Minnesota.” He went on, “Everyone involved, from the corporate sponsors to the anglers and community can see the hand of God on this event. You need to be here or be involved in supporting this incredible event!”

Three top three student-angler teams won $1000 college scholarships from Sea Foam. In all, 50 teams earned a trip through the prize tent, the top 10 in each of the five divisions.

The Navillus Land Company Walleye Division produced many walleyes of all sizes this year including a few large ones. Taking honors and the first place trophy was Ryan Schwieters and Becca Schreurs of Brainerd with 17.48 pounds for their best three fish.

The Nisswa Lions Panfish Division (three panfish) was difficult to win this year as the bigger crappies were hard to find due to the unusual spring weather. Partners Tony and Steve Ward of Zimmerman found them late in the day and came in with three crappies weighing 6.45 pounds.

The Lindner Media Bass Division featured the weights of the top three bass brought in. A good bass bite saw many limits come across the scales, but Andrew Shae and Randin Olson of Fargo bested the field with 13.37 pounds for their top three fish.

The Nor-Son Pike Division winners, Jessalyn Roussin and Brendon Chester of Clearwater found the big ones and came in with two that weighed 9.85 pounds. The Fishing Challenge pike limit is two northern pike which must be under 30 inches.

The challenging Premiere Marine Mixed Bag Division consists of one pike, one walleye, one bass and one panfish. Only 14 teams managed to get all four species. Dave Wagner of Baxter and Josh Johnson of Cambridge brought in one of each for a total of 14.04 pounds.

The Navigate North Big Walleye Award went to Ryan Schwieters and Becca Schreurs of Brainerd for their 7.43-pound walleye. The McDonald’s Big Bass Award went to Tim Hanske of Baxter and Tim Thoele of Marco Island, Fla for a huge bigmouth weighing 4.58 pounds. For a prize, winners of these two awards were awarded a giant 3-foot long Rapala Lure autographed by Al Lindner.

The Beaudry Oil and Propane “Ugliest Fish” Category which went to Warren Arnold of Sauk Rapids. He wins a plaque and bragging rights for the year for the homely dogfish he brought in.

Prizes including guided fishing trips, plus rods, reels, electronics, trolling motors, quality tackle and gear were awarded Friday and Saturday.

Additionally, each team that raised at least $500 was entered into a drawing for a new Lund boat powered by Mercury and outfitted with Humminbird and Minn Kota electronics. The rig was won by the team of Chris and Ben Reierson of Surry, ND. They raised more than $17,000.

The faith-based MNTC offers a high long-term success rate for addiction recovery. The money raised in this event allows the program to accept addicts regardless of their ability to pay. MNTC has recently expanded to Alexandria, Mankato and a new women’s campus in Brainerd. Lives are saved and families are restored through the Minnesota Fishing Challenge. The 2025 fundraising tournament event will be held on Saturday, June 7.

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