5th Annual Warrior’s Scramble

Perry Apfelbeck holds holds his 36 inch Northern Pike that earned him a $1000.
Perry Apfelbeck holds holds his 36 inch Northern Pike that earned him a $1000.

by Kim Cameron
With prominent lakes featured throughout Grand County, it is no surprise that ice fishing is a popular pastime during the winter months. Now, in the last five years, ice fishing has become synonymous with support of our veterans and their families thanks to the Warrior’s Scramble Catch & Release Ice Fishing Tournament.

Approximately 120 registered ice fishermen took to the ice on the Williams Fork Reservoir for the 5th annual ice fishing tournament. Ice conditions, weather and no wind, supported a good day of fishing, and as an added bonus, snowmobiles were allowed on the ice for those registered in the tournament.

Lake trout were abundant while rainbow, salmon, pike and brown remained elusive. Over 150 fish were measured (length only) and Richard Padilla, of Denver, caught the largest fish of the day with a 32 ¼ inches mackinaw. Coincidentally, Padilla was in the group of fishermen at the Wolford Ice Fishing Tournament the previous weekend who landed the catch of the day – a tagged fish worth $5000, and then the same fish was also the largest, earning even more cash. Smiling, Padilla mentioned they would definitely be coming back next year.

photo by Kim Cameron | Zachary Joslyn and John King hold their prizes for their winning rainbow trout.
photo by Kim Cameron | Zachary Joslyn and John King hold their prizes for their winning rainbow trout.

Which could definitely prove to be fruitful again – this year’s fishing tournament saw the return of several winners. Of the last five years, Perry Apfelbeck has won the pike prize three separate times, and he was the only one to catch a Northern Pike this year. The 36 inch Pike won him $1000 sponsored by Waste Management. In the military veterans team competition, Team Fish Winter Park fished itself into first place again this year with a total of 275 inches of caught fish.

They received custom made trophies by Socorro Castillo, a Kremmling local. It is details and prizes like these that have many loyal fishermen returning each year. Kacey Beres, event organizer and owner of Jubilee Events, says the established event overcame all the obstacles she initially faced when she proposed hosting a fishing tournament on Williams Fork Reservoir.
Beres, former Executive Director of the Kremmling Chamber and Grand Lake Chamber, has had ample opportunities to hone her skills at organizing ice hole fishing tournaments and pays attention to the smallest of details – from keeping EMS staff on standby to keeping volunteers well-fed.

Her prizes are also unique. In fact, in a spirit of fun, Beres gives a toilet donated by Ferguson Plumbing to the contestant with the smallest fish. Few contestants leave empty handed, even if they have been “skunked” for the day. Beres gave nearly 90 door prizes – augers, ice shelters, pistol bits, dry bags, ice picks, Warrior whiskey, mittens and more.

Beres’ sponsors include ESCO Construction, Eskimo, Denver Water (owner sponsor), Waste Management, Grand Lake Plumbing, Trash Company, Dean West and Dean Public House, Kremmling West End Rentals and Tires, and the Parshall Inn.

Beres also ensures the event helps veterans in some way. This year, $1800 will help an organization in Colorado Springs, Angels of America’s Fallen, whose focus is to help children who have lost a parent in combat or PTSD suicide. The organization aids children from birth to 19 years and helps them to find positive outlets.

photo by Kim Cameron | Makayla Allison won the Youth Division.
photo by Kim Cameron | Makayla Allison won the Youth Division.

According to Joe Lewis, founder and CEO for Angels of America’s Fallen, “We encourage the kids to pick a sports, arts, music, or other activity that has a coach or instructor and to stay engaged in it. It’s an opportunity for them to invest in themselves through practice in something that is the right fit for them at their current stage of development and interest.”

“This is the largest donation we have been able to give our veteran based organization. It makes me proud that the event was able to raise this money through registrations, and it makes me happy to have so much support and be able to help the kids of Angels of America’s Fallen,” said Beres who hand-picked the Colorado organization because of their commitment to help children.

“I really felt led to do this,” concludes Beres.
To follow next year’s event on February 27, 2021, visit www.jubileenonprofit.events

Winning Youth Mackinaw
Makayla Allison, Kremmling, CO – 17 ¾ inches
Tyler Harms, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO – 17 ½ inches
Mason Leech, Littleton, CO – 13 inches

Winning Youth – Rainbow Trout
Nathan Engle, Denver, CO – 14 inches

Winning Adult – Mackinaw
Richard Padilla, Arvada, CO – 32 ¼ inches
Dan Hodges, Arvada, CO – 22 ½ inches
Chad Clark, Lakewood, CO – 22 inches

Winning Adult – Rainbow Trout
Dexter Galley, Morrison, CO – 15 ¼ inches
John King, Grand Lake, CO – 13 ¾ inches
Zachary Joslyn, Castle Rock – 13 ½ inches

Winning Adult – Brown Trout
Ryan Quist, Northglenn, CO – 24 ¾ inches

Winning Smallest Fish
Clayton Joyner, Loveland, CO – 10 inches

Master Anglers (caught the most fish)
Ed Kladney, Granby, CO – 15 fish
Dale Vasold, Kremmling, CO – 12 fish

Northern Pike ($1000 winner)
Perry Apfelbeck, Dillon, CO – 36 inches

Veteran Teams – Overall length of all catches
Team Fish Winter Park – 275 inches of fish
Team Moore – 188.25 inches of fish
Team ESKO – 38.75 inches of fish