“This is a milestone event for us,” said Tom Dreier, one of the three co-chairs who plan the event every year. “This is our largest fundraiser of the year. It allows us to give back to the town and community.”
In order to celebrate the half-century milestone, the league decided to expand the event’s activities and prizes. This year, instead of 10 main raffle prizes, there will be 20. The prizes include 12 cash prizes, ranging from $1,000 to $50, multiple firearms, an ice auger and a Mitchell 300Xe Spinning Rod Combo, among other things.
Raffle tickets for the prizes are $5 each, three for $10 or nine for $20. The drawing will be held at 4 p.m. In addition to the main prizes, door prizes will also be awarded throughout the day. Winners must be present to claim their prizes.
Also new to this year’s event is a snow sculpture demonstration. The sculptures will be designed by art students from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Stevens Point Area Senior High School. The Hostel Shoppe will also do a snowshoe demonstration.
Activities and entertainment for families will include ice bowling, a bean-bag toss, and sledding. There is also a free raffle for children, with some of the prizes including ice fishing gear.
In the past the Jamboree has actually been a fisheree, offering fishing competitions as the main event. Once again this year’s event is not focusing on fishing due to a low fish population after the McDill Pond drawdown.
Dreier said that hopefully they will be able to reinstate that part of the event next year. Dreier requested that if people do fish that they catch and release.
He said between 300 and 500 people attend each year, depending on the weather.
“I’m hoping we can get this cold weather out of the way with the second polar vortex moving through,” he said.
Concessions are available for purchase and consist of hotdogs, chips, candy, beverages, hot coco and hamburgers fried by Will Lehner and Jim Feigleson.
Proceeds from the event go toward programs and activities in the community. The club provides scholarships for university students and buys conservation and environmental books for the Portage County schools.
The club is also involved with the Green Circle Trail, the Ice Age Trail, the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station and teaching hunter safety classes.
The Bill Cook Chapter of the Izaak Walton League was established in 1923 and is dedicated to conservation issues. The Chapter has more than 300 members. Dreier said if anyone is interested in joining there are memberships available. The league meets at 7 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month at its clubhouse just off Highway 66 east of the Stevens Point Municipal Airport.