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Governor's Opener 2008!

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Looks like we are hosting the Gov. in 2008.

From the Brainerd Dispatch:

By MATT ERICKSON

Staff Writer

The Governor's Fishing Opener is returning to Pelican Lake.

At Saturday's closing event for the 2007 fishing opener in Walker, Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced that Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point had been chosen as the site for the 2008 Governor's Fishing Opener - the 60th anniversary of the event.

Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point last hosted the governor's opener in 2001.

"Everybody is thrilled to have a chance to show off this area again," said Kathy Schroeder, tourism director for the Brainerd Lakes Chamber. "All of it is just an absolute positive for the community."

Breezy Point Resort will serve as the headquarters for the 2008 event. The resort has hosted past Governor's Fishing Openers including Gov. Harold LeVander in 1970, Gov. Rudy Perpich in 1989 and Gov. Jesse Ventura in 2001.

An angler headed his boat into the waves Saturday morning on Leech Lake for the opener of the Minnesota walleye fishing season. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

» Purchase reprints of this photo.

Co-chairs for the 2008 event will be Ryan and Patty Buell of Pequot Lakes. They will lead hundreds of volunteers in organizing the fishing opener events on May 10-11, 2008.

"We were just ecstatic. Excitement is the word that just keeps coming to mind," Ryan Buell said of Pawlenty's announcement. "We are looking forward to having not only the governor and his wife and the lieutenant governor and all their staffs, but all the people associated with the event.

"It's a win-win situation. We get to show them what's going on up here and it will benefit everybody in this area."

Buell said they had applied to have Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point host the 2007 governor's opener, but lost out to Leech Lake and Walker. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Patty Buell was diagnosed with cancer in November of 2005 and had a knee and femur replaced in March of 2006.

After her surgery Patty Buell spent a year receiving chemotherapy, Ryan Buell said, and it would have been difficult for her to help organize the events for the 2007 opener.

"We were disappointed when we didn't get it last year but we definitely believe everything happens for a reason," Ryan Buell said. He said his wife has been free of cancer for seven months.

The Governor's Fishing Opener has been a tradition in Minnesota since 1948. The event was designed to promote the development of Minnesota's recreation industry.

Anglers walked out to their boats at sunrise Saturday at Horseshoe Bay Resort on Leech Lake. Gov. Tim Pawlenty fished opening morning from the resort near Walker. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

» Purchase reprints of this photo.

"It's a great time to have the opener in the Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point area. This event is about fishing, but it is also a celebration of our hosting communities and the kick-off to the summer tourism season," said John Edman, director of Explore Minnesota Tourism, in a news release. "What better place to host this 60th anniversary, than in the great Brainerd lakes area so well-known for its hospitality and variety of fun activities for any visitor to the area."

Ryan Buell noted tourism dollars drive the communities of Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point. He said the exposure the governor's opener receives will be an economic benefit for the entire area.

"The more we get people out here, seeing what's going on and drawing people to area, the more likely we are to have them visit us later on," Ryan Buell said.

Jason Erlandson

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