2021 North American Sturgeon Championship a Success

The 2021 North American Sturgeon Championship located on the Rainy River at Nelson Park in Birchdale, MN is an annual event that is good in so many ways.  It is a fishing tournament for a fish that is prehistoric and absolutely thriving in the Rain River.  It is a fishing tournament just about anyone can compete in as the river in this area is relatively narrow and even on the windiest of days, is normally fishable.  It is an event that really welcomes kids to get involved.  It celebrates the area and all of the wonderful things about Birchdale.  The sturgeon championship brings people together.  And finally, it is a fundraiser with all funds raised going to operate the Birchdale Community building with the concessions going to the Birchdale church.
A big huge congratulations to the winner of the 2021 North American Sturgeon Championship.  Eric Gourley landed a 66-1/2 inch monster sturgeon with a 32 inch girth.  Probably more than 100 pounds. Incidentally it was the same boat, but different guy, that won the 2019 tournament!
Congratulations to the the North American Youth Championship winners who took home some amazing prizes thanks to some very generous donations from organizations, individuals and businesses. First place went to Jayden Ginter who landed a 42-1/2 inch sturgeon and won a lifetime fishing license donated by the Baudette/LOW Chamber, a $100 sturgeon pole and reel, and a tackle box.
Second place went to Finn Alexander, 39 inch sturgeon, who won a pole, a backpack tackle box and another tackle box.
Third place went to Sawyer Schmit 33 inch sturgeon who also won a pole, tackle box and a tent.
Congratulations to all the winners. Each of the youth tournament fishing entrants then got to pull 3 numbers from a bucket and received 3 door prizes each! There was a lot of excitement for that.
The Eian Gustafson Sportsman’s Award was donated by his family in memory of Eian who recently passed away and who won the main tournament in 2015 and fished it many times since. Eian was an avid fisherman and loved being on the water pursuing all types of fish. The Eian Gustafson Sportsman’s Award was drawn from all youth fishing entrants who fished the event and the winner was Louie Swenson.  Eian’s family also received a tree from Birchdale that will be planted in his memory.
 It was a fantastic weekend in Birchdale and the community really appreciates everyone who showed up and participated in any way, fishing, judging, volunteering or just as a spectator. All funds raised will go to operate the Birchdale Community building and the concessions went to the Birchdale church. Hope to see everyone again on the third Saturday in August, 2022!

Eian Gustafson’s brought a supply of homemade sturgeon cookies.

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Eian Gustafson dad, mom, sister and brother with the Eian Gustafson Sportsman’s Award donation and the tree from Birchdale that will be planted in his memory.

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Kristi Gustafson gets a hug from this years Eian Gustafson Sportsman’s Award winner Louie Swenson.

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Brian Briggs presents the First place winnings.

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Brian Briggs Presents the third place winnings

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Louie Swenson with his Eian Gustafson Sportsman’s Award winnings with Eian’s parents who donated the award in the background.

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Brian Briggs present the second place Award

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Kids show off their door prizes winnings

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Youth fishermen with their door prize winnings

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Three youths head out to fish

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Eric Gourley from Blackduck with his winning fish getting a hand from his boat mate Danny Olafson who won the last tournament.

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Chairman Soren Olesen hands over the winning prize money of $1600 to Eric Gourley
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Second place winner holds up his fish for his dad to take a picture.

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A sturgeon cookie made by Eian Gustafson’s mom Kristi for the youth tournament participants.
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