Thank You To Our Newest Supporters

First of all we have to say a big thank you to the Gray Fire Department for all the support and volunteers they offer us. Having EMTs and safety personnel at hand in preparation has made a huge difference and made sure that all events have succeeded without any safety issues to report.

They have also taken the time to show off some of their equipment and the kids love taking a look at fire and rescue trucks and machinery. Having them on standby for any safety issues is a great relief to have.

One of our newest supporters and sponsors to join the team is local blown and sprayfoam insulation specialist John Rockwell. His insulation business has been serving our local community for almost 20 years now, and his support is truly welcome.

Our events are fully reliant on the great work of all our sponsors and the countless volunteers. It is not only on the event days that this pays off, but there is so much to manage from maintaining the website, advertising, community outreach and getting all the necessary paper work organized with the council officials.

The council members have been extremely proactive and many of them have taken part or volunteered their time, so we have to say a huge thank you to them as well, as all this would not have been possible without them.

We often talk to people about volunteering and over the years more people have realized that this does not mean giving up endless days and weekends. There is so much that we need help with that even an hour here and there can really make a difference.

For example, several people can distribute the posters we put up around town with about one hour volunteered each. It would take me almost an entire day to do it myself, and this frees me up, to work on organizing other aspects.

Jason our web guy works as a freelance graphic designer and he has provided us with 2 hours per month to tweak this website and add new content. Small things like that all add up to help us have such successful events.

On the day of the event we have a rotational schedule in place so that nobody is really allocated to a specific job for the whole day. We know how much people want to participate and enjoy some of the refreshments, so the rotation of multiple people throughout the day makes that all possible.

In the spirit of community wellbeing we especially ask parents to help out for the junior category events. This is turning out to be one of the more popular events for families, and supervision and help by parents is really welcome.

If you are interested in volunteering, becoming a sponsor or supporting our event in other ways, then please use the contact page or talk to us at the next event meeting. We are very active in the community and leading up to the derby we have weekly meetings to discuss progress and logistics.

You are welcome to just turn up and have a chat with us, and I am certain we will find something you can help with. Whether it is time, money or equipment you can make available, we will welcome you with open arms.

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Preparing Your Hut

Our Polar Plunge event is basically the name we chose for all the ice-fishing events for all age groups combined. As the name suggests, it can be extremely cold at times, but that does not keep our tough competitors away. There really are only three things you need to succeed at our derby:

  • A fishing rod
  • A lot of patience
  • A small hut or tent

The fishing rod and patience are pretty self explanatory, but we should mention that in freezing waters fish are lot less active and it can easily take twice as long to catch a fish in winter than in summer. But that is part of the challenge.

The small hut or tent is something that most of our first timers do not think of and we’d like to take the opportunity here to tell you want some of our more creative participants have come up with.

The best hut we saw last year was from David, who came second in the under 13 age category. With his older brother JJ and dad John they spent a few weekends gathering scrap metal and plywood to make something that would provide for a little bit of comfort.

First off they found enough old and rusted steel bars and started cutting them to size. Essentially they had planned for a hut tall enough for David to be able to comfortably sit and stand in which was open to one side. In addition there would half height doors that would provide added protection from wind and snow.

The problem was that they didn’t have the right welding equipment to really make the base structure solid. So. John and David headed over to our local welding school and training provider where in fairness to them they were welcomed with open arms. The school works closely with one of the local pipefitters unions who have been sponsoring this event for quite a few years now.

Within about an hour some of the schools apprentices had welded the steel frame together with the latest equipment and David was well on the way to getting it ready on time.

Next up they simply got plywood and started bolting it to the main structure and then anchored a camping deck chair to the base. The two half doors were an after thought as they went out to Crystal Lake in December to give it a trial run.

Ultimately David was able to spend hours on the ice being able to position is hut in a way that would ensure it backed into the wind. Even snow and hail would not directly hit him that way making the whole event a lot more bearable.

I am pretty certain that over the next couple of years more of our participants will be coming up with the same or similar solutions. These types of hut are just simply so much better than just setting up a tent, which does not provide as much shelter.

If anyone is interested in creating one, or something like in the video below, or maybe even volunteering to help others, then please use the contact page. The essence of this event is community based and we would love to see more people get together in that spirit and help each other out.

We have already spoken to one of our local mechanics and the pipefitters local, who would all be more than willing to help out. Which leads to the final point I want to make.

We have gained quite a few sponsors over the years, but it is important to mention that sponsorship does not have to mean a financial contribution. Time, resources and expertise are all welcome and will qualify you as being listed as an event sponsor.

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Kids Derby

This is by far one of our most popular events. We organize events into two age categories from 80 to 13 and 14 to 17 year olds. For us it is the main way we can get young people interested in ice fishing.

Most of the kids that join are familiar to fishing on Crystal Lake during the warmer times of the year and we often see parents and their kids spending many days during summer vacations together at the lake. We just always thought it was such a shame that there wasn’t really same activity during the frozen winter months.

While the Polar Plunge and ice skating rink are a great activity for all families in winter we just wanted to bring some more adventure into the mix.

So, for the last week of January first week of February we have designated this ice fishing event, which has become really popular. While it all started with an adult event it quickly became clear that we needed to set age categories to make it a bit fairer for children.

Ticket prices are $5 each and can be got through our Contact page or over Facebook. Parents will be requested to accompany their children and the important thing is to be prepared. Obviously you will need warm clothing and refreshments. We will provide all the necessary tools except for fishing rods, reels, lines and tackle.

Thanks to some of our sponsors we have been able to create quite a few small shelters to protect our contestants from wind and snow. These are in limited supply so make sure you get your reservations in first. Otherwise we have many contestants bring their own tents and other small huts, which you are of course free to do.

Here is a list of past prizes in the kids’ categories. With increased participation and more sponsorship coming online we hope to be adding to these.


1st Place: $300 L.L. Bean gift card
2nd Place: $200 L.L. Bean gift card
3rd Place: $150 L.L. Bean gift card
4th Place: $100 L.L. Bean gift card
Largest Bass: $50.00 L.L. Bean gift card
Largest Pickerel: $50.00 L.L. Bean gift card
Largest Perch: $50.00 L.L. Bean gift card
Largest Eel: $50.00 L.L. Bean gift card


Hope to hear from you soon!

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Hunting Essentials For Derby Week

Derby week is our annual event where we have adventure competitions for people of all ages. These events have become very popular over the last few years with hundreds of people registering for our events. Ice fishing was the first event we ever hosted and to this day it is by far the most popular one we host.

The great thing is that it attracts so many people of all ages who are all able to compete together and have a lot of fun. But in recent years we have had a lot more interest in getting competitions set up for hunting and tracking. This led us to explore some of these events with some of our most regular visitors without doing much advertising. The immediate reaction was overwhelmingly positive and we have since expended our events.

If you are interested in the hunting and/or tracking events then you will need to follow some very strict guidelines to comply with laws, regulations and our event rules.

Must Haves

You must be over 18 years old and be able to provide us with your gun license for the very rifle you will compete with. You will also have to apply for and provide us with a hunting license. Finally, we expect that you provide us with a gun safety certificate no older than 18 months. All these are to satisfy laws and safety regulations.

Not Allowed

High powered rifles or non hunting rifles are not allowed. This means basically any semi automatic magazine fed rifle. You will also have to comply with our rule that limits your scope power to 12x, and this will be checked before you get going.

Spotters are also not allowed, mainly because they provide an unfair advantage especially when it comes to tracking; check out these spotting scope reviews for an idea of what we mean.


If all this seems OK to you then go ahead and fill out a registration form and we will send you details about the different events that will be held. At the moment there is a limit to the amount of people we can accept due to organisational and licensing restraints, but this is going to change over the coming years, which will mainly depend on interest and support that we get for all our events.

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