Updated: 06/04/2014 10:34 PM
Created: 06/04/2014 10:25 PM WDIO.com
By: Briggs LeSavage
Fishermen at the 19th annual Kolar Toyota ALS Walleye Tournament reeled in a record number of donations Saturday.
The tournament raised $171,525 to help fight the life-altering disease otherwise known as Lou Gehrigs. This year's total surpassed the event's previous donation record by about $15,000 and put its all-time total near $2.3 million.
Event organizer Blake Kolquist said it was great to see fishermen come out in the hundreds to support the cause but what has been most impressive for him is the community's lasting support.
"It's incredible," Kolquist said. "We watch all year and we work all year for events like these and to get support from the community and volunteers, especially the fishermen. They keep showing up and are all here for the right reasons- to make a difference for ALS."
Kolquist has a special connection to the tournament, as it was his uncle, Kevin Kolquist, who was the event's inspriation after he was diagnosed with ALS nearly two decades ago.
"(ALS) was new to our family. We didn't know a lot about it, but we became more familiar with it over the years and more familiar with people around the region who are affected by it. We tried to put stuff together to make a difference," Kolquist said.
Money raised from the event goes to support patients in the Northland and the Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota regions. Kolquist said medical equipment, respite care and helping to make patients' lifestyles with the disease manageable are key areas that tournament organizers hope to cover with the donations.
Adam Krause has been volunteering with the event for about 10 years and said while the tournament is competition-based, it's hard to tell looking at the generous donations and large volunteer corps.
"The fishing is a big part of it, but it's more about helping out, trynig to find a cure for ALS," Krause said. "The anglers obviously want to win it, but to raise money, that's the most important thing."
Fisherman Mark Geistfeld of Hermantown said he caught several fish during the Island Lake event, but added that the real catch was the tournament itself.
"It's just amazing," Geistfeld said. "Even if I didn't fish it, I think I'd volunteer just to be a part of this. It's a real joy."
Minnesota, Wisconsin Try to Reboot Income Tax Reciprocity
State tax officials in Minnesota and Wisconsin say they're working to reinstate a system that allowed 80,000 people who work across their shared border to file one state income tax return.
Wisconsin Assembly Committee Takes Up Right-to-Work Bill
Testimony has begun at a public hearing on Wisconsin's right-to-work bill, after the measure rapidly passed the Senate last week. The full Assembly is expected to vote Thursday.
Apostle Islands Ice Caves Open for Short Season with Growing Popularity
This time last year the Apostle Islands Ice Cave season was about to wrap up, but this year, it's just getting started, and the shorter season had crowds flocking to the attraction for its opening weekend. Just days ago, park officials gave the okay for the ice caves to open up to the nearly 11,000 visitors who came over the weekend.
Reward Offered in Red Lake Burning Puppy Case
The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to whoever left a puppy to die in a burning trash bin in northern Minnesota.
New Candidate for At-Large Duluth City Council Seat
The Duluth City Council at-large seat now has a new candidate in the running. Noah Hobbs announced on Sunday that he's running for the position.