Walleye Tournament a Success
For the City-Times
Under ideal walleye fishing conditions, the organizers of the Dan Sandstrom Walleye Tournament Saturday, Aug. 10, raised $10,400 for United Way of Portage County’s Learn for Life Reading Initiative at their event Saturday, Aug. 10, on the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point.
The tournament attracted 68 teams competing for $4,710 in prize money. Placing first in the tournament were Shawn Kruzitski and Jeff Palbrach who took home $1,100 for the win. Ken Rimer and Todd Freeze brought in the largest walleye, with a 29 ½-inch, 8.46-pound fish. Monetary prizes were also awarded to the top 10 finishers.
“I would not be able to put together this tournament without the support of our community,” said Rollie Vallin, tournament organizer, who started the event as a tribute to his late brother-in-law, Dan Sandstrom. “I am so humbled how businesses, participants of the tournament and volunteers collectively have helped me make this tournament what it has become and for that I give a huge thank you to everyone. I also cannot forget my driving force, Dan Sandstrom, my brother-in law, whose memory is rekindled every year by having this tournament.”
Moose Lodge was the host site where a Kids’ Casting Contest, tournament results and fundraiser were held. “We had more kids this year in the casting contest, which was a pleasant surprise as they are the future of our sport,” said Vallin. “It’s so great to see smiles on kids’ faces as they casted, ate pizza and had chances to win great prizes with the help of our sponsors.”
All monies raised through the raffle were given to Learn for Life, which is a unique collaboration between United Way and the majority of schools in Portage County. The goal of the Learn for Life Reading Initiative is to increase reading achievement in our community so that all children in Portage County are proficient in reading by the time they finish third grade.
Laura Pfeil, United Way of Portage County Community Initiatives Associate, said this donation is especially important this year because the program will expand from five schools this past school year to 12 schools this fall. She said the program is still looking for additional tutors who can commit to one hour per week during the school day to help students with their reading proficiency. People should contact United Way of Portage County at 715-341-6740 or [email protected] to find out more about the program or sign up at www.volunteersrock.org.