DERBY - Nine years ago, motivated by a family member's idea, Ron Wright decided to start an ice fishing derby with a goal of attracting 100 entries.
“It first started with no sponsorships; I gave away prizes and did all of the advertising,” Wright recalls. “We got 76 entries the first year.... I had no idea it would take off like this.”
“This” refers to the 900-plus entries received last year, with Wright anticipating 1,000 participants this year.
“I thought it would be great for the area; we have lots of lakes here,” said Wright. “I didn't want all of the pressure to be on one lake, so we have 24 lakes and ponds with a variety of species to fish for.”
The second year of the derby had 300 entries and Wright started to advertise locally and get sponsors to help underwrite prizes and other costs. Wright said the goal was not to make a profit; the money raised from entry fees was targeted to different causes, including for cancer patients who need money for travel and other expenses that are not covered by insurance, for IROC, the hospital, and the chamber of commerce.
For more about the event, prizes, registration and to join in the fun, read Monday's edition of the Newport Daily Express for Jan. 28, 2013.