The Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby is an annual event that brings the community together for a day of fun while simultaneously raising funds for local causes. 

Between volunteer hours, bursaries, and grants, the Lac du Bonnet Ice Fishing Derby is investing $24,269 back into the community this year.   

General Manager of the derby, Darlene Lamoureux, explains why they do it.  

“Our mission statement is that we exist to bring our community together in a fun and family-oriented event that not only celebrates the sport of ice fishing, but also raises funds for the community groups in Lac du Bonnet and surrounding areas. That's why we give back to the community. That's why we exist.”  

Lamoureux says one way they give back is by paying their volunteers $18 an hour. 

“You sign up under your community group. So let's say you belong to the Lac du Bonnet Trails Association, and you sign up to help the derby. What I do at the end of the derby is calculate how many hours that group volunteered, and then I write them a cheque.”  

This year, they had a total of 169 volunteers and paid out a total of $12,269 to their volunteers.  

She says on the morning of the derby this year, they drilled 2,180 holes with 40 volunteers.  

“We had two different groups, we paid each group $1,000. They made $1,000 in 50 minutes for each of their groups.”  

The derby also gives back to the community by awarding bursaries.  

This year they received 12 applications for bursaries, which Lamoureux believes is the most applications they have ever received.  

They are giving out $2,000 in bursaries, and their committee will have a meeting on June 5th to determine who this year's recipients will be.  

Lamoureux explains they get all of their funding from sponsors and ticket sales. 

The derby had a total of 90 sponsors this year, of which 20 were new for 2024.  

In total, they received $65,000 through sponsorship and sold $67,000 in ticket sales.  

She’s very thankful for the continued support of their many sponsors.  

“We couldn't do it without our sponsors. We have some great sponsors that return year after year, and it's just really neat to see everybody get excited about derby day.” 

She’s also thankful to the volunteers for coming out year after year.  

“And different groups, they specifically say, we're going to do fish measuring, or another group says we'll do hole drilling, and we'll do raffle ticket selling. Every year it makes it easier and easier because I just contact these groups and they say, ‘mark us down the same as last year.’”  

The derby also gave out grant funding to 11 different organizations this year totaling $10,000.  

The Lac du Bonnet Wildlife Association received $1,250 for the Outdoor Education Centre bench installations and an additional $500 for trout ponds bench and picnic table installations.   

Survivor's Hope Crisis Centre received $1,250 for their Protecting Youth Mental Health project.   

The Fire & Water Festival received $1,000 to support the festival, the Lac du Bonnet Pioneer Club received $1,000 for a new freezer, and the Lac du Bonnet Royal Canadian Legion #164 received $1,000 for the Hall Air Conditioner Replacement.  

The Lac du Bonnet Community Garden received $1,000 to help expand the community garden, and the Lac du Bonnet Regional Library received $1,000 to create a garden space at the library.  

Boreal Shores Art Tour Inc. received $500 to support the Boreal Shores Art Tour.  

Lac du Bonnet Senior School received $500 to ensure that students have access to healthy snacks, Whitemouth School received $500 to provide inclusive skating opportunities for all students, and the Lac du Bonnet Cross Country Ski Club received $500 to maintain and repair essential ski equipment.