President gears up for tournament’s quarter century milestone

By Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

This year marks the 24th Rainy River Walleye Tournament. While the quarter century milestone had not yet arrived, President Richard Trenchard says this year will be very exciting too.

“Everything is coming together,” he said. “It’s going to be a big exciting one this year, too.”

100 teams have registered this year which is the maximum amount allowed. As of a week before the event, about 8 teams are on the waiting list, hoping to join the tournament.

This year’s champion team prize totals to $16,000. The overall prize purse, including awards for the top 10 rankings and prizes for various activities that will take place, totals to $48,100.

To signify 25 years of the tournament, next year’s champion team prize will be $25,000, which was announced at last year’s tournament.

“Next year is gonna be a really exciting year,” Trenchard said. “But not to say this one isn’t. This year is gonna be big, too. We have lots and lots of stuff coming and different things that are new that everyone will want to come and check out.”

In addition to the annual fan-favorite activities, such as the live music and parade, the committee has added more food vendors this year. Trenchard also noted that more space has been blocked off for the car show. “So there is some increase in our planning. It’s getting larger,” he said.

In the week before the event, most volunteers are busy setting up the tent—a task that they do at an easeful pace in order to enjoy other commitments too.

“We get it up slowly,” he said. “We go at it every night, do a couple hours of work. And that gives everybody still a chance to go out and have a bit of a life, even though we pretty much live and breathe the Walleye tournament, or when I was on the committee anyway.”

Overall, the team works well together and benefits from years of experience in the role.

“They’ve been at it for a few years now,” Trenchard said. “So everyone kind of knows what to do. And you just go at it, and get it done!”

As for himself, Trenchard says he’s been president for around 10 years.

“I just enjoy being there in the crowd and helping out any way I can really, I don’t really do anything special, I don’t think, other than be there for everything,” he said of his role.

Accommodations can be difficult to find in the area. Trenchard reminded that there is an RV park at the site and hotels and motels nearby, something to keep in mind when planning ahead for next year.