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Big prizes offered in ice out contest

This year's grand prize in the Ice Out Contest is the biggest yet: an Old Town Dirigo 120 kayac and paddle donated by Fleet Farm. (Contributed)1 / 2
When will the ice melt away on Lake L'Homme Dieu? Take a guess and you might win a prize. (Lowell Anderson / Echo Press)2 / 2

With a tantalizing hint of spring in the air, now is a good time to start thinking about when the ice will melt away on Lake L'Homme Dieu.

The Echo Press Ice Out Contest is off and running. Entry blanks are in today's newspaper.

The grand prize this year is our best yet — a kayak and paddle valued at $900, provided by Fleet Farm in Alexandria. Also new this year: Runners-up will win gift certificates from participating merchants.

The person who comes closest to guessing when the ice will be gone on Lake L'Homme Dieu in Alexandria will win. In case of a tie, a drawing will be held to determine the winner.

Entry blanks may also be found in the Lakeland Shopping Guide.

Entries must be received at the newspaper office by noon on Wednesday, April 17. Clip or send a registration blank to the Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308, drop it off at the office at 225 Seventh Avenue East, email or fax to 320-763-3258.

Only one entry is allowed per person. Must be 21 or older to enter.

The ice-out date is determined by Echo Press employees who monitor the lake.

The Echo Press has been keeping track of ice-out times dating back to 1867, using official "ice spotters" to determine when the ice is essentially gone from the lake. Lake Osakis was originally the official lake, but the site was changed to Lake L'Homme Dieu in 1965.

Last year, the ice officially left Lake L'Homme Dieu on Friday, May 4 — the latest ice-out in five years. The contest winner was Ronnie Miller of Parkers Prairie, who predicted a date of May 5. Miller tied with one other entrant for guessing the closest date and a drawing was held to determine the winner.

Two years ago, the ice was gone on April 1, an early ice-out date. In the past 20 years, the ice disappeared earlier on only three occasions — March 26, 2016; March 25, 2012 and March 25, 2000.

Ice-out dates have ranged from the earliest, March 25 (in both 2000 and 2012), to the latest, May 15, 1878.

The ice has left the lake on May 1 or later just seven times in the last 100 years.

Recent ice outs

Here are the ice-out dates on Lake L'Homme Dieu over the past 20 years.

2018: May 4

2017: April 1

2016: March 26

2015: April 11

2014: April 26

2013: May 13

2012: March 25

2011: April 22

2010: April 2

2009: April 21

2008: May 2

2007: April 18

2006: April 9

2005: April 11

2004: April 7

2003: April 13

2002: April 16

2001: April 26

2000: March 25

1999: April 10

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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