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Ice fishing derby to benefit Little Suamico Fire Department

Little Suamico Fire Department gear, February 2, 2023 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)
Little Suamico Fire Department gear, February 2, 2023 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)
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SOBIESKI (WLUK) -- It's an event that combines ice fishing and firefighters, and it's hoping to raise some money for some new equipment.

The idea was borne last year out of a firefighters' ice fishing trip on the frozen waters off Geano Beach.

"We were sitting out on the bay one day, and we were just kind of talking, and like why don't we do an ice fishing derby? It was nothing to have 500-100 people out on the bay on a Saturday and Sunday. And it was just, we felt it was a good opportunity to raise money," said Lt. Bob Paneitz, Little Suamico Fire Department.

Paneitz says the result is the very first "Smoke Eaters Slam" Fishing Derby. Smully's on the Bay is hosting the event. The owner says he's happy to help.

"Why wouldn't I? I like being part of the community. We're right here on the water. This is a destination place, a destination bar-restaurant," said Tony Smullen, Smully's on the Bay Owner.

"We're going to have burgers, brats, chili. We'll have beer, soda. Then we'll have bucket raffles. Lots of bucket raffles," said Paneitz..

Fire department volunteers say as of Thursday morning, there are 44 different buckets.

"You can buy either a handful of tickets, or a little bit, whatever you want. And then you could put your tickets in the coordinating buckets, and potentially win a prize," said Hannah Kozlik, Little Suamico Fire Department.

Money raised from the event will go toward buying new equipment.

"These are our current sot of jaws-of-life we have now, they're roughly 22 years old," said Paneitz.

Paneitz says the new equipment will help make it easier and safer for everyone.

"I just like helping the community. It's very rewarding. There's no better feeling when you get back from a call, or when you go into a call, just knowing that you're going to help somebody on their worst day," he said.

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The event runs Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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