Bobbin’ for Brian indoor fishing derby nets big cash

Fundraiser for new fire hall lures 469 fisherfolk to Shamrock Centre


The local fire chief couldn’t be happier with the massive catch made during last Saturday’s indoor fishing derby.

The Bobbin’ For Brian Indoor Fishing Derby, a fundraiser to help pay for the municipality’s new fire hall, netted around $20,000, say the organizers, although the full amount – less expenses – has not been calculated just yet.

“It was spectacular,” said Troy Cuvelier, fire chief for the Killarney-Turtle Mountain Fire Department. “The McKay family, the volunteers, the committee, the staff, the food – everyone went out of their way to pull off this event. Just to see the community come together was fabulous. And the staff went out of their way to keep everybody warm, with the Herman Nelson heaters. It actually got too warm, and we had to turn one off.”

That’s because the Bobbin’ for Brian event, in memory of Brian McKay, a teenage firefighter who died 15 years ago in a car accident, was held during a breakdown of the facility’s geothermal system. 

Facility manager Brian LePoudre said they used two diesel-fueled Herman Nelson heaters to vent warm air into the hall. 

“Saturday night we had to turn the heating off,” said LePoudre. “There were around 500 people in there, and it was very warm.”

Deb McKay, Brian’s mom, said the event grew to be bigger than expected.

“It went really well,” she said. “It was pretty overwhelming. Around $20,000 was raised, which was double the fundraising goal we had in mind. There were people who were young, and old, and everybody in between. Quite a few came from out of town. I am amazed that it ran as smooth as it did, and that we generated all this money for the fire fighters.”

Top draw in the silent auction was a bid for the signed Jets jersey, by star goalie Connor Hellebuyck, which was claimed by Tannis Gibson. 

Other top bids went for a Chef’s Table, a three-course-meal in a Winnipeg restaurant, plus $100 Visa credit; and for a guided fishing tour at Lake-of-the-Woods. 

These were just a few of the loads of donated items and prizes given out during the event.

Winners in the adult fishing categories were as follows:

First: Josh Stephenson, with 38 pounds of fish; prize $500.

Second: Tyler Anderson, also with 38 pounds of fish, was represented by his mom, Wenda Anderson, who drew cards with Stephenson to determine the winner (see back page); prize $250. Anderson then donated the money back into the Fire Hall fund.

Third: Nathan Grobbe, with 32 pounds of fish; prize $200.

Fourth: Lyle Baldwin, with 32 pounds of fish (another card draw to determine the winner; prize $100.

Fifth: Derek Tripp, with 30 pounds of fish; prize $50.

Funds raised during the indoor derby will be added to the $300,000 already raised, said the organizers. 

The price tag for the new hall is estimated at somewhere in the region of $1 million, and building is expected to start this year.

“We have had donations from the Killarney Foundation, from the Killarney-Cartwright Co-op, from Tri-Lake Agri, and from local businesses,” said Chief Cuvelier. “And we have to thank the Killarney Kinsmen for their $150,000 donation, which started the fire hall fundraising project.”

TRIBUTE TO BRIAN MCKAY – Killarney-Turtle Mountain Fire Chief Troy Cuvelier (right) holds up a plaque created in memory of the young firefighter, Brian McKay, who loved to fight fires – and to fish. McKay was training to be a firefighter when he was killed in a motor vehicle accident 15 years ago. His parents, Debbie and Ken McKay (left) came up with the Bobbin’ for Brian event idea to help raise money for the new fire hall, and their son’s plaque – paid for by the local fire department members – will hang on the wall inside it once the hall is built.

BOBBIN’ AWAY – Folks flock around the prize tables to disperse their tickets amongst the buckets during Bobbin’ for Brian on Saturday.

FISHIN’ – Kids do a little fishing and playing in and around the cardboard fire truck in the children’s area. 

DRAWIN’ – Josh Stephenson (right) and Wenda Anderson draw cards to decide who will take the top prize at the fish derby. Stephenson drew the biggest card to take first place and $500.

50/50 WINNER – Kim Opperman (left) was the 50/50 winner, pulling in a whopping $1,012.50. MC Lisa Whyte presented her with the big cheque.