For the first time in what seemed like far too long for avid ice fishers, the Royal Fire Department was able to host their next ice fishing tournament at Grove Lake. After a year off from the tournament, people came from all across Nebraska to enjoy the day.
An impressive 59 teams showed up for a beautiful day on the lake Sunday to support the fire department. The event is held each year as a fund raiser for the fire department. Currently, the department is saving for a new pumper to replace their 1976 Ford Pumper which, while still adequate, is getting a bit outdated according to Royal Fire Chief Gary Ober.
The event started out as a family event 34 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.
"Our first tournament, if I recall, we had 17 teams," Ober said. "It grew to 27 and then from then on it has just gradually went up. We've had up to 72 teams."
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 Williby of Grand Island and Dave Hansen of Bradshaw took home first place with a total weight of 12.8 pounds. Cambrie Drees of Norfolk was given the award for the youngest female fisherman at seven years old. Carson Sayers of Orchard took the award for youngest male fisherman at age five. Max Hieter of Royal led the way as the oldest fisherman in the tournament.
Justin Brandt of O'Neill came away with the biggest individual catch of the day, pulling in a 3.46 pound bass. Neil Zimmerer of Verdigre caught the largest crappie of the day at .84 pounds. The largest bluegill was caught by Pat Gallagher of Inman, also at .84 pounds. The largest perch belonged to Josh Gronenthal of Humphrey, weighing .64 pounds. Between the 59 teams, 232.45 pounds of fish were caught on the day.
Ober was excited to be able to host the event this year, as it has been a couple years since the ice was deemed safe enough to run the tournament.
"Last year we didn't have it because of bad ice," he said. "We don't do the tournament unless there is a good, hard six or eight inches of ice. If its iffy, we don't do it."
The event proved to be a fun day for fisherman of all ages and many of the competitors are already looking forward to next year.
Results from the 34th Annual Royal Ice Fishing Tournament
1st place Wade Williby, Grand Island 12.80 pounds
Dave Hansen, Bradshaw
2nd place Jeff Macke, Brunswick 12.05 pounds
Rick Brandt, Norfolk
3rd place Derek Thiele, Clearwater 10.72 pounds
Eric Allemang, Clearwater
4th place Brock Belik, Orchard 10.62 pounds
Justin Brandt, O'Neill
5th place Neil Williby, Royal 9.85 pounds
Dalton Williby, Royal
6th place Tyson Cole, Page 9.70 pounds
Pat Gallagher, Inman
7th place Max Hieter, Royal 9.57 pounds
Corey Curtis, Royal
8th place Chance Eckmann, North Bend 8.86 pounds
Tyler Going, Ames
YOUNGEST FEMALE FISHERMAN: CAMBRIE DREES AGE 7, Norfolk
OLDEST FISHERMAN: MAX HIETER AGE 73, Royal
YOUNGEST MALE FISHERMAN: CARSON SAYERS AGE 5, Orchard
LARGEST BLUEGILL: PAT GALLAGHER .84, Inman
LARGEST PERCH: JOSH GRONENTHAL .64, Humphrey
LARGEST BASS: JUSTIN BRANDT 3.46, O'Neill
LARGEST CRAPPIE: NEIL ZIMMERER .84, Verdigre
TOTAL POUNDS CAUGHT: 232.45 pounds
It’s time for Royal’s annual Ice Fishing Competition!
Royal Fire Department will host the 34th annual competition on January 15 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Grove Lake.
Royal Fire Chief Gary Ober is looking forward to a good day on the lake, and encourages people to come out to the calcutta as well.
“We have the calcutta on Saturday night in (the Royal auditorium and that’s where teams can sign in and we also have a barbeque,” said Ober. “We’ll feed you and have refreshments there, and that’s where most teams sign in.”
Food will be served at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 14, 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.
A Vermont man was lifeflighted and two others were arrested following an accident at Grove Lake late Sunday night.
According to the Antelope County Sheriff's Department, deputies discovered a severely damaged vehicle at the north dock of Grove Lake at 11:39 p.m. Sunday.
The investigation determined that the vehicle, a white 2004 GMC Crew pickup, was traveling eastbound on 866th Rd from 519th Ave. The vehicle lost control and skidded off the roadway entering the camping area of the north dock. The vehicle struck a large tree causing significant damage to the vehicle. The vehicle came to final rest in the parking area of the north dock.
Deputies were unable to locate a driver. With the assistance of the Nebraska State Patrol, Neligh Police Department, Orchard Fire, Royal Fire and Neligh Fire, the driver, Logan J. Bartley, 26 of Newport, Vt., was located in a camper at the Grove Lake Bait Shop.
Bartley was transported to Avera St. Anthony’s in O’Neill by Orchard Rescue and later flown to Mercy Hospital in Sioux City with head injuries. Bartley was cited and released for leaving the scene of an accident. Pending an investigation, additional charges may be filed.
Two other individuals were arrested for obstructing a police officer and transported to the Antelope County Jail related to this incident. Alcohol was a factor in the accident, according to the sheriff's department.
Bartley’s vehicle was a total loss, and seatbelt use is unknown.
MTS Tree Service, based out of Royal, is expanding.
Greg Meyer, who started the business a few years ago, has recently expanded to include residential stump grinding as well.
“We started doing tree removal and pasture clearing about two years ago,” said Meyer. “I specialize in a lot of cedar tree removal, hard wood trees and pastures. I just got into the residential stump-grinding about a year ago.”
MTS Tree Service is the only stump remover in the area, so Meyer has stayed busy.
“I’ve been pretty busy so far but it’s been pretty good. Like the stump grinding and stuff, I can do pretty much anything and it doesn’t matter how big or small the tree is, I can do any size.”
On Monday, October 6, Greg Meyer brought out one of his CAT skid loaders to grind a stump in Orchard.
The stump, which measured eight and a half feet in diameter, belonged to a tree on a property owned by Tony Tabbert.
The large tree, which according to Tabbert is three trees merged into one, was cut down by Duane Risinger and before Meyer came in to grind the stump.
In addition to two CAT skid loaders, Meyer has a variety of other tools, including shredders and shears.
To learn more about the tree removal services he provides, visit his Facebook Page at MTS Tree Services.
The Bazile Creek Ringnecks' 7th Annual “Outdoor Families Exploring Nature Together” was a hit again this year.
Held Saturday at the Creighton Rod and Gun Club in northern Antelope County, the family outing included various activities from fishing to archery.
At the event, Logan Jacobsen won a Henry .22 rifle, sponsored by Larry and Vivian Kotrous of Verdigre. He is the son of Ronita and Shane Jacobsen of Plainview.
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is hosting a four day field day focusing on soybean production and management.
The four day event will take place in four different locations throughout eastern Nebraska.
Their first stop?
The Robert Johnston Farm in Royal.
The Soybean Management Field Days, as the event is called, is happening on August 9-12 and, according to their website, "will focus on how the state's soybean industry can stay competitive in a global marketplace, while increasing profits and helping meet the world's growing food and energy needs."
During the event, farmers can also bring their pivot pressure regulators for on-site testing.
"Management is the key word for the 2016 Soybean Management Field Days," said Ron Pavelka of Glenvil, chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board of Directors, in the event's main website. "This year's program will address those big challenges that each farm must manage — water, weeds, fertility, pests and markets. In a year full of production and economic challenges for Nebraska soybean farmers, I would encourage growers to take this opportunity to put their checkoff to work on their farms."
The event site explains that "the field days will be held at four sites, each with replicated research and demonstration plots, lunch and time for questions."
For more information on presenters and topics, visit the UNL- Soy Bean Management Field Days website.
The annual Royal Celebration began at noon on Saturday with the 44-mile tractor ride. Over to tractors joined the parade, including a Ford driven by Royal's oldest homeowner, Jim Haskin.
At 5 p.m., just as the tractors rolled in from the ride, the festivities continued with the annual BBQ, featuring the Ober's homemade BBQ sauce. A steady stream of people went through line to enjoy the pulled pork sandwiches and root beer floats.
The celebration ended with a movie after dark, which played downtown.
Check out the photos below and don't miss out on the fun next year!
A Pierce man was killed in an accident near the Antelope and Knox County lines Saturday morning.
According to the Nebraska State Patrol, 32-year-old Dana Ziegenbein died as a result of a one vehicle accident about a half-mile west of the junction with 522 Avenue on 872 Road, or about 4 miles northeast of Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park.
The accident happened just before 7 a.m. According to the Nebraska State Patrol, Ziegenbein was eastbound when he left the road and struck a bridge. His vehicle left the road again, rolled multiple times before coming to rest in a tree-line, pinning Ziegenbein beneath his truck.
The accident remains under investigation by the Nebraska State Patrol.
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