Three-day Frostbite Challenge celebration returns

Monticello’s Frostbite Challenge returns for its winter run of fun this weekend, and the third annual event includes a number of events the family can enjoy.
A vintage snowmobile show and run, snow golf and an outdoor ice bar are the marquee event additions to this year’s local celebration of things chilly.
“We are excited, and we are ready, said Rachel Wernsing, Monticello Chamber of Commerce & Industry assistant director. Event organizers were scheduled to conduct their final pre-event planning meeting Wednesday morning. “We will go through each event individually, and make sure we have enough volunteers for each thing to make sure all events are covered,” she said. “We’ll go over the number of teams and participants and the number of tickets that have been sold.”
The weather forecast wasn’t an overriding concern of the various Frostbite Challenge event coordinators when they were contacted earlier this week for updates.
“It’s going along quite well,” said Frostbite Challenge Chairman Wes Olson.
“We’ll be putting the final pieces to the puzzle Wednesday. What we are hoping is we get a good turnout Friday night for the Family Fishing Seminar.” The last two years, the Frostbite Challenge has featured a kids’ fishing seminar. This year, Olson said the event has been changed and will highlight electronic equipment. “There will be professional fishermen there to answer questions about different techniques and things to use, ice safety, protocols, real nice hands-on display of the electronic equipment for the kids,” he said. “They can play with the stuff.”
Fishing Organizer John Thurber said there’s 10 to 14 inches of ice on Pelican Lake, Wernsing reported Tuesday morning. “We are hoping that families come out and participate and get involved. We are anticipating a lot of people for the Vintage Snowmobile Run & Show. We are still selling fishing tournament tickets.” The long list of Frostbite Challenge events kicked off earlier this week with Monday’s online release of the first medallion hunt clue.
One cryptic clue will be released each day this week on the Monticello Times website (www.monticellotimes.com) and the Frostbite Challenge website (www.frostbitechallenge.org).
The Station Bar & Grill’s outdoor ice bar has been open since Dec. 22. The fully functioning ice sculpture features a luge to chill and serve various cocktails.
“We’ve narrowed the ice bar use and viewing to the times when we have bands at the Station Bar & Grill,” said Tara Thurber. “The ice has been holding up. It’s been quite a hit. The temperatures have been working with us. On Monday, we kind of panicked a little bit, and it started to melt a little bit, so we enclosed it in foam insulation to keep the cold inside. It’s not going to melt down completely by the end of the weekend, but we want it to look decent through the weekend.”
The Monticello Chamber of Commerce & Industry has partnered with the Monticello Lions Club and St. Cloud-based Simply Outdoor Experiences to help run the popular fishing contest on Pelican Lake. Additionally, Simple Outdoors Experiences will host this year’s free Family Fishing Seminar at Pinewood Elementary School.
The event will include seminar instruction from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11 and will feature professional fisherman and guide Scott Seibert.
There will be a short presentation, question and answer and stations showing the latest fishing gear and outerwear, Door prizes will be awarded.
“We are a non-profit that does fishing derbies all the time, and we make sure that there’s something for everybody,” said Woody Sankey, Simply Outdoor Experiences executive director. “What we wanted to bring to the Frostbite Challenge was the feeling everybody can be successful and enjoy the outdoors.”
The pond hockey tournament returns Saturday, Jan. 12, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Fourth Street Park in Monticello. “We have teams registered and everything is ready to go, but I have not seen the final numbers,” said Perry Sloneker, event organizer. “”It sounds like the weather is going to be perfect, 20 degrees or so and snowing,” he said. “You could not ask for better conditions for pond hockey. Pond hockey teams can register up until Friday, Sloneker said. “As long as they get registered online by this Friday or call the Monticello Chamber of Commerce office, they should be fine.”
The U.S. Smoosh Racing Championships will run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the park. Teams of four will attach their shoes to two, 8-foot pieces of lumber and race 25 yards down and back across a snow-filled course. “A lot of people sign up at the last minute once they check their weekend schedules,” Thurber said.
The first-ever Monticello Frostbite Challenge Vintage Snowmobile Show & Run set for Jan. 12 is getting lots of advance interest from prospective participants.
The event begins at 10 a.m. next Saturday at River City Extreme, 3875 School Blvd. Snowmobile trailers should be parked on the road with vehicles and not in the River City lot. Spectators can look over the pre-1990 era snowmobiles that people have collected and restored. First through fifth-place trophies will be awarded at the Station Bar & Grill, 512 Pine St.
The 12.5-mile run starts at noon. The Station is the official half-way stopping point for the run portion of the event. The first 75 participants to reach the Station Bar will get numbered tickets that can be redeemed for a T-Shirt donated by Dalheimer Distributing as well as a commemorative Frostbite Challenge Vintage Sled Run pin. The Monticello Trailblazers Snowmobile Club is providing support for this new event.
“Snowmobile trailers need to be parked on School Boulevard,” said Bob Paschke, Frostbite Challenge Vintage Snowmobile Show & Run event organizer.
Bundle up and bring your golf clubs to participate in the first-ever Frostbite Challenge Snow Golf Open Saturday, Jan. 12, from noon to 5 p.m. A nine-hole course is ready at River City Extreme, 3875 School Blvd. Golfers can play nine with a tennis ball. Trophies will be awarded to first and second place teams.
“You are allowed to bring two golf clubs,” said organizer Tim Suchy “When you tee up the tennis ball, you have to use snow. You won’t be able to get a tee into the ground. We’re going to try and get started at noon. Registration is $25 per two-person team. This year’s Frostbite Challenge wraps up with two big events on Pelican Lake. The day gets rolling with the Kids’ Olympics, which is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The event is free and there is no need to pre-register. Kids will go from station to station to learn about ice fishing equipment and skills.
“The Ice Fishing Olympics will be a 10-station challenge course for kids. Every kid who goes through will win something,” Sankey said. “We want the whole family to come out. If parents have a child with physical or cognitive challenges, we can help them. We want people to come out and have a good time.”
The Frostbite Challenge Fishing Contest kicks off at noon on Sunday, Jan. 13. The cost for the fishing contest is $25 a person; the ticket value includes $15 for the contest and $10 for the raffle. Participants must be 18 years or older to buy a ticket or win a prize. The fishing contest drawing will start at 3:15 p.m.
Fishing contest participants need to bring their own bait, all fish caught must be alive and fresh, one line allowed per ticket and the decision of judges is final. All Minnesota game and fish laws apply. There will be no clam and no shelters allowed in the contest area. Frostbite Challenge Fishing Contest tickets can be purchased at the Monticello Chamber of Commerce, River City Extreme, Monticello Bait & Tackle, The Station Bar & Grill, All Elements Inc., West Metro Buick GMC, Best Western Chelsea Inn & Suites and from Monticello Lions Club members. Official rules for all events are online at www.frostbitechalleng.org.
“People should not go onto Pelican Lake at the public access,” Olson said. “They have to go to Fallon Avenue and Don Holker’s residence, because we are parking in his yard right along the lake. I’m not too worried about the weather. There will be hundreds of door prizes given away on the ice. We’ll show people a good time if they come out and fish Sunday.”

Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at tim.hennagir@ecm-inc.com

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