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World Championship Musky Classic cancelled for this year

June 12, 2020 by Beckie Gaskill

According to tournament organizer Beth Kebl, the World Championship Musky Classic will not be held this year. The decision was a difficult one, she said, but with the COIVD-19 pandemic changing the way things are done, and with many businesses still unsure of their opening date, a well as the idea of bringing hundreds of people to the Northwoods from 16 different states, the decision was made to cancel the event for this year. With many of the organizational decisions needing to be made early in the year, it was felt the best decision was to forgo the event.

“We start planning in January,” Kebl said. “With hats, shirts and trophies needing to be ordered by April.”

The event includes lakes in four different towns, Boulder Junction, Winchester, Manitowish Waters and this year’s host city Presque Isle. The event usually welcomes between 680 and 730 anglers and their families for the three day event. In 1977, when the Classic started, there were 258 anglers. The biggest year was 1995 ,when 864 anglers came to the Northwoods to pit their skills against the “fish of 10,000 casts,” in this contest. 

Sadly, this year, those anglers will miss the competition this year. Kebl said the biggest draw of the tournament is the friendship and camaraderie the anglers have developed over the 44 years, many of whom have been coming back year after year. 

Kebl said there were not only concerns regarding bringing that many anglers from different areas to the Northwoods, but also whether or not the use of the community building for orientation and as a headquarters would even be possible.

She said organizers wanted to thank all of the chambers, volunteers and other organizations for their dedication to the Classic. It also could not be possible without the anglers, who enjoy the event so much, she said. Another important component of the World Championship Musky Classic are the area small businesses who, through their donations, make the event what it has become today.

The Classic’s main objective is to provide two scholarships in memory of Ben Bendrick, to area high school seniors. These seniors must have attended North Lakeland from fifth to eighth grade. Special consideration is given to students who are pursuing a degree in a natural resources related field, she said, but all students are eligible to apply for one of the scholarships each year.

There are two scholarships for two-year college students and two for those looking to go on for a four-year degree. To date the Classic has donated well over $200,000 in scholarship money for graduating seniors.

Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at [email protected]

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