People of all ages across Nebraska gathered at Grove Lake for another year of the Royal Ice Fishing Tournament.
An impressive 65 teams showed up to compete, topping last year's number of 59 teams. The event is held each year as a fundraiser for the fire department.
Royal Fire Chief Gary Ober said its nice to see the amount of teams increasing and the support from local businesses and the many competitors is very appreciated.
The event started out as a family event 35 years ago as a fun event for the department. Over the years, the event has grown into a popular one for the town of Royal. The first year of the tournament saw a turnout of just 17 teams, with a gradual increase throughout the years. This year's registration of 65 teams sat just under their record of 75 teams entered.
After holding a calcutta to kick off the event on Saturday evening, the fishermen hit the lake at 9 a.m. Sunday morning and caught as many fish as they could until 2 p.m. Cash awards and trophies were given to winning teams, and trophies were also awarded to the oldest fisherman, youngest male fisherman and the youngest female fisherman.
Wade Frederick of Yankton and Mark Rettig of Niobrara took home first place with a total weight of 10.36 pounds. Brylie Billings of Orchard was given the award for the youngest female fisherman at eights years old. Dakota Velleck of Verdigre took the award for youngest male fisherman at age four. Max Hieter of Royal led the way as the oldest fisherman in the tournament.
Kyle Coover of Norfolk came away with the biggest individual catch of the day, pulling in a 3.4 pound bass. Terry Ronk caught the largest crappie of the day at .69 pounds. Fishermen catching the largest blue gill was tied at .58 pounds between Wade Frederick of Yankton and Austin Hilker of O'Neill. The largest perch belonged to Max Hieter of Royal, weighing .58 pounds.
RESULTS FROM THE 2018 ROYAL ICE FISHING TOURNAMENT
1st Place: Team #13 - 10.36 pounds
Wade Frederick, Yankton
Mark Rettig, Niobrara
2nd Place: Team #6 - 7.4 pounds
Brock Belik, Orchard
Justin Brandt, O'Neill
3rd Place: Team #10 - 6.14 pounds
Derek Thiele, Clearwater
Eric Allemang, Clearwater
4th Place: Team #51 - 5.73 pounds
Pat Gallagher, Inman
Tyson Cole, Page
5th Place: Team #45 - 5.19 pounds
Kyle Coover, Norfolk
Terry Ronk Jr., Norfolk
6th Place: Team #30 - 4.86 pounds
Dave Hansen, Grand Island
Wade Williby, Grand Island
7th Place: Team #15 - 4.86 pounds
Derek Price, Pierce
Rod Johnson, Pierce
***Tie for 6th & 7th settled by coin flip***
8th Place: Team #26 - 4.55 pounds
Doug Krueger, Stanton
Nate Krueger, Hadar
Blue Gill: Wade Frederick, Yankton .58 pounds
Austin Hilker, O’Neill .58 pounds
Perch: Max Hieter, Royal .58 pounds
Bass: Kyle Coover, Norfolk 3.4 pounds
Crappie: Terry Ronk, Jr .69 pounds
Oldest Fisherman: Max Hieter, Royal
Youngest Male Fisherman: Dakota Vellek, Verdigre, Age 4
Missy Hieter Eckmann Trophy for the Youngest Female: Brylie Billings, Orchard, Age 8
John Nelson, of Orchard, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Renal Cell Carcinoma in November. While going through recovery following surgery to remove the mass, he was then diagnosed with chronic Leukemia.
As he deals with his conditions, he is unable to work. Therefore, a pancake feed and bake sale will be held at the Royal Auditorium on February 11 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Along with the pancake feed, a gun raffle will be held after 2 guns were graciously donated. If you are interested in purchasing a ticket, contact any member of the Nelson/Williby family or Royal One Stop. Tickets are $5.00 each.
An account has also been set up at the Bank of Orchard to help with funds during this difficult time.
It’s time for Royal’s annual Ice Fishing Competition!
Royal Fire Department will host the 35th annual competition on Sunday, January 14 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Grove Lake.
BBQ and refreshments will be served at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, and the calcutta will start at 7:30.
Sign up fees are $30 for every two-man team, and teams can also arrive at Grove Lake early on Sunday morning to sign up.
All teams will meet at the north end of the lake on Sunday morning before going out to fish at 9 a.m.
Cash awards and trophies will be given to winning teams, and trophies will also be awarded to the oldest fisherman, youngest male fisherman and the youngest female fisherman.
All proceeds from the event will go towards a new pumper for the Royal Fire Department.
For more information, contact Gary Ober 402-893-2880, Max Hieter 402-893-4531, Butch's Body Shop 402-893-5115, or Royal One Stop 402-893-3861.
A Royal man who has been accused of terroristic threats will wait just a little while longer before his preliminary hearing.
Justin Jensen, who was arrested Monday, November 13, after making threatening statements toward Holt County Judge Mark Kozisek, had his bond continued in court on Wednesday. A preliminary hearing was set for January 3 at 2:30 p.m.
Jensen was arraigned in Antelope County court on November 15 on terroristic threats, a Class IIIA Felony.
A Royal man was arrested for terroristic threats after making threatening statements toward a local judge.
According to Antelope County Attorney Joe Abler, Justin Jensen was arrested Monday, Nov. 13, after making threatening statements toward Holt County Judge Mark Kozisek.
Jensen was arraigned in Antelope County court Wednesday on terroristic threats, a Class IIIA Felony.
Work to repair a bridge north of Royal will begin immediately after the bid was accepted on Tuesday morning.
Road boss Casey Dittrich told commissioners that the county received two bids for the project; however, both bids had clerical errors.
With clerical errors the bids were $71,286 from Husker Grading and $120,020 Klabenes Construction.
Dittrich said Husker said he could not complete the project for that bid and asked for it not to be used. Klabenes Construction’s bid used an incorrect figure of calculations of the excavation of pipe.
Once errors were corrected, the bids were for $84,583 from Husker Grading and for $86,630 from Klabenes Construction.
“Because we are doing this in emergency nature, we don’t have time to rebid it. Neither of the bids was disqualified by the way they were bid, so we can move forward.”
Dittrich told the commissioners they had two options — 1. Reject both bids and award the bid to Husker for his intended bid price of $84,583 or 2 — allow Husker to his pull his bid of $71,286 and accept Klabenes Construction’s bid of $120,020 with a change order that changed the unit instead $86,630
Antelope County Joe Abler was present and said he was consulted on he two options, and either option was legal.
Commissioners voted to approve Option 2 and give the bid to Klabenes Construction.
Dittrich asked Matt Klabenes if the work would still begin on time, which was Monday, Nov. 20, since culverts may not arrive until early December.
“That’s why I’m here today. You’re talking next Monday,” Klabenes said.
The bridge was struck in early July by Nick Carlson of Osmond, according to Antelope County Sheriff Chief Deputy Dan Hallock. Carlson was northbound on 519th Road when he struck the bridge railing with a 2017 Dodge Ram 5500 service pickup.
Carlson was cited for leaving the scene of an accident.
Hallock said the truck rode the railing until the vehicle corrected onto the gravel road, causing about $6,000 worth of damage to the vehicle and an unknown amount of damage to the bridge. Carlson was uninjured in the accident.
Carlson, who was the only occupant in the vehicle, was located and cited for leaving the scene of a property damage accident.
While the bridge is currently in service, the Antelope County Road Department will look at it closer on Monday. Motorists are asked to use caution on the bridge at this time.
A small glimpse of light can be seen as travellers pass through the small-town of Royal, where two residents are making sure the doors continue to stay open at the local bar.
Gary and Diane Ober are known for their continuous support and leadership in the small community, and they’re adding one more role to their list as they take over the Royal Bar naming it what only seemed fitting, “Royal’s Last Chance Bar and Grill.”
In April, the bar closed with the chances of it being the final time the doors would be ever be opened. With their large involvement in the community, the Obers decided that they did not want to see another big part of the town die and took the initiative to keep the business running.
Gary stated, “When it closed the last time, we found out that was it. It was going to be done. And we decided then that we just couldn’t have that happen.”
Taking the bull by the horns, Gary began to ask around town for investors, in which many jumped at the opportunity. Raising money was a big part of the project, along with the developing of an LLC, remodeling, and finally obtaining a liquor license.
Not only the Obers, but many of the investors have not only put their money into the business but have contributed much of their time. From remodeling to contributing their skills, the Obers are grateful for the continuous support they have received from the investors and the community.
“We had a lot of investors come in and help, one way or another. They put their elbow grease into it and helped get it going. Everybody has their strengths and weakness. And It’s definitely not just Gary and me, it’s a team effort from a lot of people,” Diane gratefully said.
As support continues, the bar has seen much success beginning with simply the serving food. The bar currently offers breakfast, daily lunch specials, and short orders during the evening. However, business has taken an even bigger leap with the approval of their liquor license. Gary explained that the serving of food and liquor are both big components, and in any small-town business, it’s hard to thrive without the two.
The bar is currently open from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. during weekdays, and opens at 7 p.m. on weekends. During hunting season, they will be offering breakfast at 6 a.m. all throughout the week -- including Saturday and Sunday.
Diane stated, “When the doors close, the town goes too. Gary does a lot for Royal. He has a really big heart for this town. Our number one goal is to just save it and keep the doors open.”
Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park invites the public to its 2017 Fossil and Artifact Identification Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at the park near Royal.
Mike Voorhies, professor emeritus in Vertebrate Paleontology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Rob Bozell, Highway Archeology Program manager at the Nebraska State Historical Society, will help identify items.
Visitors can bring a single item or a whole collection to be identified. Past discoveries include leg bones and teeth from camels, mastodons and mammoths, stone points, pottery and more.
Ashfall Fossil Beds is a national natural landmark with complete skeletons left in place for viewing.