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The 2024 Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza Has a Winner!

The 2024 Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza Has a Winner!

Brainerd, MN – The Hybrid Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza was an outstanding success on February 3rd, 2024.

Despite unseasonably warm winter conditions affecting ice levels, thousands traveled to the Brainerd Lakes Area for the organization’s unique take on the 34th annual tournament. Though falling short of the traditional format, the event received widespread acclaim from participants and spectators.

The tournament format this year converted length measurements using a points system. There were 3,856 fish entered into the hybrid event judged on FishDonkey.

And the Winners Are…

Coming in at 24th place is Dustin Erickson, from Merrifield, who wins their choice of a Ford or GMC truck from Mills Automotive Group by catching a 25.5-in. (80 points) walleye.

In 45th place, Treshon Johnson, from Brainerd, is going home with a Polaris Sportsman from Northland Sports Center by catching a 24.5-in. (75 points) walleye.

In 1st place, Chhorn Chhang, from Brooklyn Park, is going home with an Ice Castle Wilderness Edition by catching a 14.5-in. (109.41 points) perch.

The Catch of the Day winner, Mick Seeker, is going home with a $18,000 prize package and $1,500 cash from Pietig Properties. The 2024 Catch of the Day species was sunfish.

Congratulations to all the winners!

2024 Leaderboard (Top 10)

  1. Chhorn Chhang, Perch, 14.50”, 109.41p. (prize: Ice Castle Wilderness Traveler)
  2. Kevin George, Walleye, 29.25”, 98.75p. (prize: Polaris 450 from Northland Sports Center)
  3. Mike Erholtz, Walleye, 28.50”, 95.00p. (prize: $1,000 Extravaganza Cash)
  4. Matt Casperson, Crappie, 15.25”, 94.17p. (prize: $1,200 2025 Grand View Extravaganza Package)
  5. Jack Kons, Perch, 13”, 91.76p. (prize: StrikeMaster Auger)
  6. Benjamin Heinle, Crappie, 14.75”, 89.17p (prize: Aqua Vu AV722 Bundle)
  7. Seth Warwas, Crappie, 14.50”, 86.67p. (prize: Vexilar FLX-28)
  8. Brandon Osborn, Walleye, 26.75, 86.25p (prize: Voyager Thermal)
  9. Tiffany Hoover, Perch, 12.50”, 85.88p (prize: Radco Roll-Up Soft Cover)
  10. Peter Vang, Walleye, 26.50, 85.00p (prize: Mr. Heater Flex and Cooker)

For the entire leaderboard, please check the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza’s official results section.

2024 Prize List (Top 10)

Courtesy of Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

All in all, there were a total of 150 prizes given out this year, which is super generous, in my opinion.

Additionally, 25 awesome raffle prizes were given out to contestants. 

Below is the prize list for the top 10 winners of this year’s Extravaganza. As you can see, there was a lot of really cool ice fishing gear to win here! 

  1. Ice Castle Wilderness Traveler
  2. Polaris 450 from Northland Sports Center
  3. $1,000 Extravaganza Cash
  4. $1,200 2025 Grand View Extravaganza Package
  5. StrikeMaster Auger
  6. Aqua Vu AV722 Bundle
  7. Vexilar FLX-28
  8. Voyager Thermal
  9. Radco Roll-Up Soft Cover
  10. Mr. Heater Flex and Cooker

2024 Sponsors

Courtesy of Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

Here is a list of the sponsors that have made the 2024 Extravaganza’s prizes possible:

Fleet Farm, Grand View Lodge, Ice Castle Fish House and RV, StrikeMaster Ice Augers, C&L Distributing, Mr. Heater, Aqua Vu, Mills Automotive Group, Vexilar, Visit Brainerd, Clam, Northland Sports Center, Pietig Properties, Advantage Seamless Gutters, Mike’s Tree Company, Nic’s Works Tree Service, Roundhouse, Radco Truck Accessory, Magnum Research, Wings Financial Credit Union, Lakes Gas Co., Gull Lake Events, Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake, Brainerd International Raceway, Lakes Printing, Waste Partners, Interstates, Brainerd Eyecare Center, Lake Latitude, CTC

Challenges Along the Way

Courtesy of Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

The road to the 2024 Brainerd Jaycees Extravaganza has been a little rocky! 

The unconventionally high temperatures of the last few weeks have made the ice in the wider Brainerd area less thick and more unpredictable. 

Daytime temperatures of 45 to 50F on several days have raised doubts and concerns among many contestants.

So, a little over a week ago, the event organizers decided to turn the Extravaganza into a hybrid event that would now be based on several Brainerd area lakes and a digital fishing app to register caught fish. 

And despite several protests online, this decision turned out to be a smart move. 

Courtesy of Amanda Johnston

Thousands of contestants and spectators could now be spread out on several lakes and not bunched up on Gull Lake as initially intended.

Furthermore, the fishing app FishDonkey had already been used a few years ago, so many contestants were already familiar with it.

Still, the concern over the ice depths, ranging from 6 to 10 inches on many lakes, remained. 

That is why the event organizers, together with local authorities, recommended foot traffic only on all of the approved lakes. 

Not super smooth, but way safer than vehicle traffic on ice like that! 

All in all, the volunteer team of the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza did an excellent job preparing the event and making sure it would be as safe as possible for everybody involved. 

Given the circumstances, it couldn’t have been easy making all of these decisions while still planning and managing everything around the Extravaganza. 

Time was of the essence, and I am sure stress levels were elevated quite a bit during these last few days and weeks. 

So, a big thank you and tons of respect to the event organizers for pulling this off! The winter might have been against you guys, but you still delivered. 

A job well done!

A Brief History of the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza

The Brainerd Jaycees is a non-profit organization comprised of members between the ages of 18 and 40. The organization aims to provide development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change. 

The organization hosts many events throughout the year, and all proceeds raised are donated back to local charities and organizations.

One of the primary events is the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza. 

Since its inception in 1991, this event has never been canceled and has been postponed only three times before, in 2002,  2012, and 2016. 

The contest was relocated to a different lake in 2006.

Over $4.5 million in donations to Brainerd-area charities, particularly the Confidence Learning Center, have been generated by the world’s largest charitable ice fishing tournament.

Organized by the Brainerd Jaycees, the volunteer-run event involves over 140 members contributing more than 75,000 hours and nearly $200,000 to the community annually.

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