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Prairie Pothole Day 2017 a huge success

Carolyn Lange / Tribune Dre Lenz, 4, of Willmar, holds an English Cocker Spaniel Saturday at the annual Prairie Pothole Day at Stoney Ridge Farm near New London.1 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune Carson Fairchild, 12, of Kandiyohi, holds a Columbian boa constrictor at an educational display at the annual Prairie Pothole Day.2 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune Bystanders plug their ears as a very loud muzzleloading rifle is fired at the Prairie Pothole Day.3 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune Trap shooting contests were conducted all day at the Prairie Pothole Day last weekend at Stoney Ridge Farm near New London.4 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune Boy Scouts from Troop 228 in New London helped with educational displays at the 35th annual Prairie Pothole Day at Stoney Ridge Farm near New London.5 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune The 35th annual Prairie Pothole was held last Saturday, Sept. 9, at Stoney Ridge Farm near New London.6 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune Guns and hunting merchandise were offered as raffle prizes during the 35th annual Prairie Pothole at Stoney Ridge Farm near New London.7 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune Desiree Malone, of Willmar, holds a Columbian boa constrictor at an educational display at the annual Prairie Pothole Day.8 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune A dog makes a leap off the dock at the 35th annual Prairie Pothole Saturday to fetch a retriever dummy. Dogs were judged on how far they went from the edge of the dock.9 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune Henley Johnson, 9, from Clara City, takes a turn at the BB gun range Saturday at the annual Prairie Pothole Day.10 / 11
Carolyn Lange / Tribune A dog prepares to make a run down the dock to fetch a retriever dummy during the 35th annual Prairie Pothole. The day-long event was held Saturday, Sept. 9, at Stoney Ridge Farm near New London.11 / 11

NEW LONDON — The 35th annual Prairie Pothole Day drew kids, dogs and hunters to the Stoney Ridge Farm near New London last weekend.

The one-day event is used as a vehicle to raise money to improve waterfowl habitat and educate people about the importance of wetlands.

"It was a great day and the people there had a really good time," said LeRoy Dahlke, president of Prairie Pothole.

Activities included dog jumping and retrieving, a 3-D archery trail, a sporting clay course, black-powder shooting and educational displays about the environment and wildlife.

Kids lined up to climb the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center's portable climbing wall, shoot BB guns, try their hand at archery and have snakes draped around their necks at a display that also featured an examining pond water for bugs.

Pens of puppies were available for petting and for purchase, along with hunting and outdoor merchandise from vendors.

The event is free, but raffle tickets are sold with chances to win guns and others items donated by area businesses.

Dahlke said the crowd was a little smaller than last year and it's expected that not as much money was raised as in the past.

"I think we did OK overall," said Dahlke, who estimated the event grossed around $44,000.

He said people took advantage of the beautiful weather and spent time walking the trails, playing the games and talking with educators and vendors.

"It was such a nice day and the companionship and camaraderie of everyone was great," he said. "It's so much fun."

Dahlke said the organization would welcome more volunteers to plan and work at the event next year. "I'm not going to make any bones about it, we need help," he said. People interested in Prairie Pothole can contact Dahlke at 320-796-2787.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750
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