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Senior Fishing Day is a go again as Viking Sportsmen honor Bosek

Larry Deason holds up a rock bass that he caught while fishing on Lake Darling during the Senior Fishing Day on July 12, 2017. (Eric Morken / Echo Press)

Viking Sportsmen president Gene Sullivan did not hesitate when asked what Arlene Bosek meant to the Senior Fishing Day that the group has hosted for more than three decades.

"She was it," Sullivan said. "She's the one who organized it and put it together. We helped, but she did all the coordinating and organizing of it."

Bosek took on that task with pride for more than 20 years. Now this year, the Viking Sportsmen will posthumously honor her for that during the 33rd Senior Fishing Day on July 19.

The Senior Fishing day will once again allow seniors and handicapped individuals the opportunity to fish or just take a ride on a pontoon from 1-3 p.m. on July 19. Volunteers and participants meet at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center to take off onto the water on Lake Darling.

Each boat has two to four volunteers to provide help in baiting the hooks and removing any of the fish caught. Everyone is then invited to a fish fry that Viking Sportsmen members help prepare back at the Douglas County Fairgrounds from 3-5 p.m. There is no cost to the event and individuals can RSVP at www.knutenelson.org or by calling (320) 759-3405.

Bosek was a part of many efforts in the Alexandria area through her life, including being a Viking Sportsmen member. The Senior Fishing Day became something she took great pride in as she organized it every year.

Bosek died in a car crash on Aug. 5, 2017, at the age of 79 when her vehicle rolled on County Road 82 east of Brandon. Just a few weeks prior to the accident, she spearheaded another Senior Fishing Day that helped almost 130 veterans and seniors get out on the water.

Members of Bosek's family will be given a plaque to honor Arlene during this year's Senior Fishing Day event.

"That was the whole idea behind it from the beginning is we should have something in memory of Arlene," Sullivan said. "I'm happy to say we are going to have it again this year. It's going to be basically in memory of Arlene and her hard work and efforts to organize it every year. We're glad somebody was able to step up and take control."

The Viking Sportsmen needed somebody else to tackle the same tasks that Bosek had taken on for so many years. It's a job that includes finding volunteers to donate their pontoons for use and others who will help on the pontoons the day of the event. Then it's organizing a supper that evening that feeds fish to almost 300.

Alexandria's Sonya Anderson and her husband, Earl, volunteered at last year's Senior Fishing Day, and Sonya said they loved seeing the enjoyment attendees got out of spending a day on the water. She heard the Viking Sportsmen were having trouble finding someone to step up and organize this year's event, so she attended one of their monthly meetings and agreed to take the reins.

"I really enjoy fishing myself and taking people, especially the elderly, to get them out to fish," Anderson said. "I think it's huge. I take my mom out fishing. She's 91. They enjoy it so much that I just hated to see it disappear. It was such a good deal for the community."

Anderson is a member of the Viking Sportsmen and the local Vikingland Muskies Inc. group. Anderson and Bosek played on the same softball teams and knew each other from the time they were teenagers, so she knew how important this day was for Bosek.

Anderson is quick to say she is not alone in organizing this year's event. The day has primary sponsors along with the Viking Sportsmen in Let's Go Fishing, Bosek Bait, Knute Nelson, Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center, Chippewans 4-H Club, Coca-Cola Company and Alex Rubbish and Recycling. Volunteers with their boats are starting to come together.

"I have really good help," Anderson said. "Julie Bosek has stepped up to help and Arlene's granddaughter, Samantha Beckman, has also helped. Of course, Jim Baxter and the whole group from Viking Sportsmen will do the frying of the fish. It's kind of fun that people step up and offer. That's what's nice about our community here."

Anderson said the group is preparing for numbers to reach even a little more than last year.

"I just said it was something that needed to be done," she said. "I'd try to keep doing this (into the future). I hope it comes together and it's a success."

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

(320) 763-1229
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