Larson, Gibson claim top prize at Spirit Lake Casino Walleye tournament

Ray Maloney, Sports
B.J. Larson, left, and Bob Gibson, right, were the winners of the 11th annual Spirit Lake Casino Walley Classic on Sunday near Devils Lake. With the winning team is tournament director Daniel Lohnes.

As is typical in North Dakota and the Lake Region no two days are quite the same when it comes to the weather.

But that didn’t matter much to B.J. Larson and Bob Gibson.

The pair of Devils Lake residents came away with the top prized Sunday at the 11th annual Spirit Lake Casino Walleye Tournament. The duo shared in the $10,000 top prize.

Nine other teams picked up prize money at the tournament.

Larson and Gibson, who were in third place after Saturday’s opening day of the popular tournament, came away with five fish weighing a total of 14.34 pounds to claim the title with a two-day total of 33.12 pounds.

They also weighed five fish on Saturday that weighed in at 18.78 pounds.

Larry Zimmerman and Dennis Andruski, the only three-time tournament champions, finished second in the tournament with a total weight of 32.67 pounds.

They were awarded $4,000.

Last year’s tournament champions Ben Mack and Matt Taylor struggled on the final day and finished third.

That tandem weighed four fish on Saturday for 21.21 pounds and stood in second place after the first day. But the windy weather conditions appeared to hamper them as they hauled in just two fish on the final day and added just 8.74 pounds to their total and ended the tournament with 29.95 pounds, but still collected a check for $2,500 for their efforts.

Two special awards were also presented at the end of the tournament.

The team of Luke Pladson and Mike Olson collected the prize for the biggest fish after reeling in a whopper of 8.17 pounds on Saturday.

The Hard Charger award went to Forrest Balvitsch and Jeremy Sandivik for their turnaround. After being shut out on the opening day, the pair came back to collect 18 pounds of fish on Sunday.

Top Ten Teams

1. B.J. Larson/Bob Gibson, 33.12. 2. Larry Zimmerman/Dennis Andruski, 32.67. 3. Ben Mack/Matt Taylor, 29.95. 4. Jason Ramberg/Travis Clemens, 29.15. 5. Jeff Trana/Rick Darling, 28.79. 6. Travis Klien/Rick Frisch, 28.35. 7. Dennis Schonhoff/Mark Olson, 27.72. 8. Cory Anderson/Ken Remmen, 26.98. 9. Ken Omlie/Roger Price, 26.28. 10. Dustin Larson/Rod Troftgruben, 24.10.