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Teen Challenge / Full Throttle- Recap News

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Minnesota Teen Challenge News

Fishing Challenge Success Measured in Fish & Funds Raised

The first annual Minnesota Fishing Challenge presented by Mills Fleet Farm was a huge success. The 87 teams participating in this charity raised more than $85,000, which will all go to Teen Challenge, the most successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in the state.

Conducted on Gull Lake near Brainerd, Minnesota, on Saturday, May 30, the two-person teams faced windy conditions, yet were all smiles upon their return to Ernie’s on Gull with their mixed bags of bass, pike, walleyes and panfish. Honorary tournament director Al Lindner said, “This first annual event was a great success and will only grow. The anglers’ smiles told the story – they really liked fishing for the species that was biting for them.”

Winners of the Full Throttle walleye division were Mark and Eric Sullivan with 11.37 pounds for their tournament limit of three walleyes. Their biggest weighed 5.46 pounds. Eric is from Brainerd and Mark lives in Ulen. They won a guided fishing trip with Perry Good. The largest walleye of the tournament, 6.24 pounds was landed by the team of James Hodgin, Newport and Mike Lundberg, Lakeshore. They won the Rack Back big walleye trophy, presented by Camden Outdoors. Walleyes were caught in seven feet of water, all the way out to 40 feet deep.

The Full Throttle bass division went to Scott and Kevin Bonnema from Zimmerman. Their bass tipped the scales to 4.38 pounds. Each team could weigh only one bass. The Bonnemas won a guided fishing trip with Butch Blasing. Bass were caught throughout the lake, from under docks to 32 feet of water, on every presentation including casting Rapala Shad Raps and X-Raps to jigs and plastic to live bait. The average bass weighed 2.89 pounds. Both walleye and bass winners received Old World Meats trophies for being the top-placing family teams in the contest.

Scott Wielenburg and Shawn Lindley, Brainerd, won the Nor-Son panfish division. They weighed a tournament limit of three panfish at 2.86 pounds, and won a guided trip with Rich Boggs. Contestants could bring in crappies, bluegills, sunfish and perch in any combination. Most were shallow and tiny jigs and plastic accounted for most.

Claiming the Nor-Son pike division were Lowell Borgen, Maple Grove, and Gary Ellis, Ham Lake, with a 6.71-pound pike. They won a guided fishing trip with Tim Anderson. Pike fishing was tougher than expected and best described by David Johansen as, “They had lock-jaw.” He and partner Mark Boone, Brainerd finished third, but Johansen was the winner of the Birchdale Fire & Security trophy for traveling the farthest, 6,110 miles from Lebanon, to fish the Challenge.

The top fund-raisers, Jamison Seiffert and Joshua Maxwell, Litchfield won a fishing trip with Al Lindner for raising the most funds of any team, $5,370. Walleye Dan Eigen will escort the team of Steve Walstad, Buffalo, and Jeff Ekstrand, Rogers on a guided fishing trip for raising $4,270. Anglers from throughout Minnesota traveled to the Brainerd-lakes area to participate. “New friendships and new fishing partners were created, but the real blessing was the great effort all contestants made to benefit Teen Challenge,” Lindner said.

A big crowd of fishing fans cheered the anglers on stage. The families also enjoyed the Fishing for Life games and activities for youngsters, hosted by the Miss Brainerd pageant contestants. Kids also had fun learning the basics and shooting in the Centershot Archery lanes.

Minnesota Teen Challenge currently serves 450 students in Minneapolis, Brainerd and Duluth. It is the most successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in the state. More information, results and pictures can be viewed at

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