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Cancer-fighting event lures them in

From left) Derek Steidl of Alexandria, Sarah Glover of Osakis and Eric and Shelby Thesing of Carlos gather round a northern that was just an inch shy of keeping at the Fishing for the Cure ice fishing challenge on Smith Lake Feb. 16. (Ross Evavold / Osakis Review)1 / 3
These children were hanging out on a bunk bed in a fish house at Fishing for the Cure Feb. 16. (From left) Key Lee Krienke, 5, Charlotte Krienke, 3, Aubree Glover, 6, Avery Steidl, 1, and Taylor Stiedl, 4. (Ross Evavold / Osakis Review)2 / 3
James Adrian, an Osakis native who said he "practically grew up fishing this lake," was one of many returnees for the annual Fishing for the Cure ice fishing challenge on Smith Lake Feb. 16. (Ross Evavold / Osakis Review)3 / 3

Back in 2007, Alexandria Industries' first-ever "Fishing for the Cure" ice fishing tournament on Smith Lake near Osakis drew just over 100 participants and raised $620.

That turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Support for the event, which raises money for cancer research through the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, has been snowballing ever since.

At the 13th annual tourney this past Feb. 16, a total of 1,231 anglers took to the frozen lake, including 208 children — a turnout that pleased the organizers.

"One of our goals is to grow our future fishermen and women," said Patty Hoffman of Alexandria Industries.

After raising $57,500 last year, the company established a hefty goal for 2019 — $100,000. Hoffman said Monday they were still compiling the figures.

"We're confident that we did well," she said, noting the event stirs pride among employees.

"You just walk with your head held a little higher," Hoffman said, adding that the event aligns with one of the company's core values. "It has resonated with a lot of people and they feel that vibe."

Raffle winners

Raffle winners included: #1 Ice Castle — Anthony Zimny, #2 4-wheeler — Mike Kalina, #3 Aluma Trailer — Doug Schmidt, #4 Honda generator — Ritch Burkey, #5 Otter portable — Mark Trebelhorn, #6 Ion ice auger — Nick Kamphake, #7 55-inch TV — Trista Whitman, #8 Big Buddy heater — Margaret Zidom, 50/50 Winner of $3,668.50 (biggest ever) — Jeremy Thiele.