Exciting walleye weekend on tap

As in past years, the Emo Walleye Classic committee has planned an exciting schedule of events for both anglers and district residents to enjoy this coming weekend (May 24-26).
“I really expect it to be better than before—that is, if we can get any better,” Angler Services director Colleen Vennechenko enthused of the sixth-annual tournament.
“I encourage everyone to come check it out,” she added.
The fun starts tomorrow evening (May 24) at 5:30 p.m. with the angler boat parade along Front Street in Emo.
“They will be throwing candy, as usual,” Vennechenko noted, adding it’s a “win-win” situation for the children who line up along the parade route with their bags to fill with the treats.
Vendors and the bar at the Emo-La Vallee Arena will be open from 4-11 p.m. The penny table, with many fantastic prizes up for grabs, will be open all evening, as well.
Meanwhile, the Muskie girls’ hockey team will be hosting a fish fry at the arena from 5-8 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $6 for kids and seniors.
(Tickets for all three weekend dinners are available at the Village Variety, Tompkins Hardware, Meyers Clothing, and the Corner Closet).
Volunteers for the Emo Walleye Classic are asked to check in between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the arena, where the reading of the rules will take place at 7:30 p.m.
Before the boats take off for the first day of fishing on Friday, there will be breakfast at the arena from 5-10 a.m.
The first flight of boats leave at 8 a.m., followed by the second flight at 8:30 a.m.
The field of teams has been increased from 60 to 65 for this year’s tournament.
“We figured we’d been able to handle a few more teams and then we’d be able to shorten the waiting list a bit,” noted Vennechenko.
While the teams are out on the water, the information booth, bar, and food vendors, including hamburgers, hotdogs, perogies, chili, ice cream, and baking, will be open back at the arena from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Then the “reel” excitement gets underway when the boats start arriving at the boat launch at 3:30 p.m., with the weigh-in getting underway at 4 p.m. up at the arena.
That will be followed by the Calder women spaghetti dinner (tickets again cost $10 for adults and $6 for kids and seniors).
“We’ll have live updates of the weights as they come in online,” noted Lincoln Dunn, the Stage and Marketing director for the EWC.
“And Home Satellite Systems will have a live webcam running off of their site, as well.”
Dunn indicated the webcam was running last year, but they’ve moved it to a new location this time around to capture more of the stage.
“We’ll have a live camera running from the waterfront to the arena again, as well.”
The first round of the annual Emo “Walleyedol” vocal competition will get underway at 7 p.m. on Friday, with local contestants performing for a spot in the final three on Saturday night and the top prize of $400.
The second day of the tournament kicks off Saturday with breakfast at the arena and the boats heading out in two flights at 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
Kids’ activities will be ongoing at the arena from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., complete with minnow races, face-painting, colouring contests, and more.
The weigh-in will begin at 3:30 p.m., with the top 10 after Friday entering the arena last in their boats.
“That’s when it really gets exciting,” enthused Vennechenko, stressing the majority of the teams competing in the tournament are local—from Emo, Devlin, Fort Frances, or Barwick.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have local teams win and there’s never been a repeat winner—maybe this is the year for a repeat,” she remarked.
A prime rib dinner will be served by the 4-H Club from 5-8 p.m. Tickets cost $15 each.
The following the final “Walleyedol” showdown, the 2007 Emo Walleye Classic champions will be presented with their award and the raffle winners drawn.
The handi-van committee and EWC raffle tickets, offering more than $25,000 in prizes, are still available.
The event wraps up with a dance (age of majority) from 9 p.m.-1 a.m., featuring live music by Fort Frances band North of the Trax.
“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s all worth it,” Vennechenko said.
“It’s year six and we all have a pretty good idea of what we’re doing,” echoed Dunn, adding they don’t anticipate any problems this year.
“It’s all about refining what we have in place, rather than adding new stuff,” he stressed.
And, of course, they are hoping for good weather for the tournament.
“We’ve fished in the rain before, as long as there isn’t lightning,” noted Vennechenko. “We’ve also had years where it’s been really hot.”
For more information about this year’s tournament, visit www.emowalleye.com