Couples Walleye Tourney raises $3,000 for Outdoor 101 Project

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–Kelsey Crouse–

KetterlingFish-largeBlake and Elizabeth Ketterling of Aberdeen are the winners of the 2013 Mobridge Couples Walleye Tourney that took place Saturday, July 15.
The couple caught six fish weighing 13.45 lbs, taking home $620 in prize money. This year the couples tourney hosted 46 teams and raised more than $3,000 for the  Outdoor 101 Project.
For the past five years the Outdoors 101 Project has held the couples walleye tourney. The tournament hosts up to 50 teams, which are made up of one male and one female. The teams launch their boats at 7 a.m. and must be checked in by 3 p.m., and the team with the highest weight wins.
Each team pays an entree fee of $101. The money collected is separated in to prize money and to the Outdoor nonprofit organization to fund the 101 project. The outdoor 101 project offers fishing classes for children and families in order to encourage a cost-efficient and family-oriented activity for each generation.
“If a family takes the class and they are still fishing with their dad or granddad 10 years later, then we succeeded, and I’m happy,” said Martin Looyenga, founder and director of the Outdoors 101 Project.
The classes teach families how to properly bait a hook, clean fish, and all the basic ins and outs of fishing. Each child and parent are given their own fishing pole and tackle box. The class also takes a field trip to the river so that they can practice what they have learned before they go out on their own.
Looyenga would like to see the project expand to different areas such as Aberdeen. The association would train instructors and provide material including fishing poles and tackle boxes for the students.
The tournament attracts couples from all over the Midwest, mostly from Minnesota, North Dakota, and various parts of South Dakota. Most of the entries this year were from the Aberdeen area.
John and Barb Goodhart of Browns Valley, Minn., placed 18th with six fish amounting to 6.70 lb. The couple has been coming to Mobridge for 14 years. Every other time they bring their children to fish and enjoy the town, but decided to leave them home to participate in the tournament this year.
“We came out here for the first time 14 years ago, liked it so much we never went anywhere else,” said Barb Goodhart.
The couple entered the tournament because they wanted to support the Outdoors 101 Project. Both John and Barb are educators and were excited that thay would be teaching children and families how to fish properly.
Clayton and Marla Larson of Selby placed 13th with six fish weighing 7.52 lb. Thay came to Mobridge and the tournament to have fun and they always wanted to enter a tournament together.
“This is really the only couples tournament I have ever heard of,” said Clayton, “but we are going to have a lot of fun with it.”
Looyenga feels the tournament was a success. The 46 teams caught a combined 254 fish weighing 282.72 lb., which is a handsome increase from last year’s tournament that resultant only 154 fish. Looyenga encourages Mobridge residents and visitors to take advantage of the weather and fishing conditions.
“Fishing is something that is affordable for families to do together,” said Looyenga.
For more information on the tournament and the Outdoor 101 Project visit outdoor101project.com.

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