News That Matters To Antelope County - Your News. Your Way. Every Day!
© Pitzer Digital, LLC
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