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Senior Fishing Day moves indoors

Shirley Syverson (left) and Susan Brooks, both of Alexandria, try their hand at fishing in a fish pond provided by Bosek Fisheries during the annual Senior Fishing Day. Johnny Bosek and Anakin Bosek help keep an eye on their bobbers. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 1 / 4
Gene Sullivan (far right) presented the Bosek family with a plaque in memory of Arlene Bosek. A similar plaque will be hung on the wall at the Bemo Building at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. (Contributed) 2 / 4
Rainy weather kept area senior citizens from fishing in the annual Senior Fishing Day, so they played Bingo instead. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press) 3 / 4
Lois Peterson of Alexandria plays Bingo with her great-grandson, Cael Kapphahn, 8, also of Alexandria. Kapphahn is a member of the Chippewan 4-H Club and helped out at the annual Senior Fishing Day. (Celeste Edenloff / Echo Press)4 / 4

Last Thursday's dreary, rainy weather forced the annual Senior Fishing Day indoors. But organizers took it as a sign from its previous organizer, Arlene Bosek.

Bosek, who spearheaded the event for more than two decades, died in a car crash last August near Brandon.

"Arlene must of been crying from heaven because she was missing this year's event," Sonya Anderson said of Thursday's rain. Anderson, a member of the Viking Sportsmen, stepped up to the plate to take over Bosek's role of organizing the event. Although, according to Anderson, she didn't have to do much.

"Really, what I had to do was easy. They (volunteers) did everything so well, they didn't really need me," Anderson said. "The volunteers were so great, it gives me shivers just thinking about it."

During a typical Senior Fishing Day, volunteers take area senior citizens on pontoons on Lake Darling for a couple of hours to fish and then there is a fish fry afterward at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

This year, because of the rain, the entire event was held at the fairgrounds inside the Viking Sportsmen building. There was bingo, fishing trivia, prizes and yes, there was even fishing. Bosek Fisheries set up a large pool filled with fish for the seniors to fish from and they provided the fishing poles and Speedy Worms provided the bait for them to use.

Although the majority of seniors spent their time playing bingo and answering trivia questions, there were a few who were successful at catching fish out of the pond.

Kaycee Sanborn, Bosek's granddaughter, who has helped at the event since she was a little girl, shared a story from last year's event of one woman who was bound and determined to take the fish she caught home with her.

"Every time she caught a fish, she would put it in her purse," said Sanborn, adding that she and her grandma had a good chuckle over it.

Sanborn said each year, her grandma was good at giving all the participants hugs.

"She would hug everyone," she said with a huge smile on her face as she quickly added, "Now I guess I get to give the hugs."

Julie Bosek, Sanborn's mom and Arlene Bosek's daughter-in-law, said that it was always a big deal to her mother-in-law to give back to the community, especially when it came to senior citizens and veterans.

"She loved to be able to do this for them for free," said Julie Bosek. "She loved to be able to give them this experience and she would be happy to see it continuing."

Sanborn agreed and said that being able to bring the seniors outdoors, fishing on a pontoon, was a highlight of her grandma's each year. For many of the seniors, she said, it was also a big deal because it was probably the one and only time they were able to get out on water.

Because of the weather this year, many of the senior citizens waited for the fish fry to go out to the fairgrounds, said Anderson. For the fish fry, she guessed there were about 200 people who attended. She said the Viking Sportsmen fried up about 200 pounds of fish for the event with the leftovers brought over to Knute Nelson.

Anderson said one of the senior citizens who attended the event told her he was a connoisseur of fried fish and said the fish was a "10."

"Despite not being able to actually go out fishing, I think everyone still had a good time," said Anderson.

As for next year's event, Anderson said it might be changed back to Wednesday instead of Thursday, the day Senior Fishing Day has been held on the majority of years.

"If it would bring good luck for weather, then we'll definitely change it," Anderson said.

Celeste Edenloff

Celeste is a reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press and has lived in the Alexandria Lakes Area since 1997. She first worked for the Echo Press as a reporter from 1999 to 2011, and returned in June 2016 to report on the community she calls home. Besides writing articles for the Echo Press, she has a blog, “Newspaper Girl on the Run.” Celeste is on a continuous healthy living journey and loves to teach bootcamp fitness classes and run. She has participated in more than 200 races with her husband, Al, covering the 5K, 10K, 10-mile and half-marathon (13.1 mile) distances.

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