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2010 Midwest Open Ice Fishing Tournament Story

Taking Care of Business
Pair of Brooklyn area business owners share $12,000 for winning Midwest Open Ice Fishing Tournament

By Jeff Steers
Brooklyn Exponent editor

Chad Hamlin, left, and Bob Richardson finished with 6.64 lbs. of fish to win the tournament.
The answer to the first couple of questions presented to fisherman Bob Richardson was “no.”

No, he wasn’t going to give away his “secret spot” used all day at the Midwest Open Ice Fishing Tournament held at Wamplers Lake.

And no, the Subway Restaurant owner was not going to introduce a bluegill melt on Monday.

Richardson and Chad Hamlin won the fishing tournament on Sunday to claim the top prize of $12,000. It was the first ice fishing tournament for the duo who bass fish in the summer.

Both are local business owners as Richardson owns a number of Subway Restaurants and Hamlin owns Clark Lake Plumbing. Both live in the Brooklyn area.

“Jim [Knutson] asked me to get into the tournament the past few years, but I told him I had a problem getting into a tournament that I sponsor,” Richardson said. “Jim said if I mess up, he would throw me out just like anyone else.”

The duo fished in the same spot all day, normally not a wise practice in tournaments. They found the spot “about two weeks ago” and kept an eye on it.

“Bob found the spot and I drilled the holes,” Hamlin said.

Matt Richardson takes donated fish from the tournament and places them in a cooler. The fish were to be cleaned by a handful of fishermen and donated to the Jackson Interfaith Shelter.
Contestants had five hours to catch eight bluegills and eight crappie fish for their total. Hamlin and Richardson finished with 15 fish and a weight total of 6.64 lbs.

Being business owners, both realize that a local tournament can bring in revenue for restaurants, gas stations and motels.

“When you get this many people together [150 two-men teams] it is good for local businesses,” Richardson said. “There were a lot of teams from out of state.”

Tom Knutson of Knutson’s Recreational Sales said there were teams from eight states. The businessman said the tournament would generate more than $200,000 for the local economy.

More than $30,000 in cash and prizes were awarded at the tournament. All 20 of the top teams earned cash prizes while seven other teams earned merchandise from sponsors of the tournament. At Saturday night’s rules meeting, door prizes were awarded to every team.

Finishing second were Denny and Chad Tison with a total of 6.04 lbs. Al and Kyle Seagraves finished third at 5.92 lbs. and Ryan and Bill Sovoda finished fourth at 5.77.

Local fisherman Glen Martin was all smiles during the Midwest Open Ice Fishing Tournament. Martin, and his son, Jim, finished 10th at the tournament.
Former champions Jim and Glen Martin finished 10th at 5.44 lbs. and two-time defending champions Ben and Jeff Wright were 11th.

The biggest crappie fish was won by Vincent and Dave Vitek at 1.32 lbs. and the biggest bluegill was won by Kyle and Al Seagraves with a fish just under one pound.

The tournament will move to Clark Lake on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011.
Two-time returning champions Ben, left, and Jeff Wright are nervous as they check the weight. Pro ice fisherman Dave Genz talked to the fishermen during the weigh-in process.

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