Star carp found after brief carpnapping

Nobody admits to gettin’ Lucky New Year’s Eve
By Ted Pennekamp

Reported Lucky Hideout!
The 10th annual Droppin’ of the Carp in Prairie du Chien on New Year’s Eve capped off the week-long Carp Fest, which drew numerous participants in a variety of carp activities.

The weather was fairly warm throughout much of the Carp Fest, but it turned windy and cold Saturday night for the annual Droppin’ of the Carp celebration at Lucky Park near the entrance to St. Feriole Island. Nobody was carping, however, as many people braved the low temps in anticipation of the lowering of Lucky at midnight to ring in the New Year.

Revelers enjoyed two large bonfires at Lucky Park and those in a dancing mood hoofed to the lively, toe-tapping music of local singers Shane and Red.

Many also enjoyed the tasty treats provided inside of a heated tent, including hot chocolate, hotdogs and brats.

Several people, including Mayor Dave Hemmer, took the opportunity to lay a big, wet smooch upon Lucky the Carp’s delightfully luscious lips. It is said that those who kissed Lucky are sure to receive a year’s worth of good luck in 2011.

At about 15 minutes before midnight, Ken and Jan Meyer were officially crowned Carp King and Queen.

At the stroke of midnight, Lucky was lowered to the cheers of the crowd. A laser light show and fireworks immediately followed.

Leading up to the culminating event Saturday night, was the second annual Carp Fest. The Carp Fest began on Dec. 27 and various family and youth events were held at Hoffman Hall throughout the week, including a Big Splash Carp Contest, a Pool Party and other pool events, daily youth games and arts and crafts.

Other Carp Fest events during the week included a bowling party at Timber Lanes of Prairie du Chien, a euchre tournament in the City Hall Community Room, a skate party at Lochner Park, a torchlight ski hike a LaRiviere Park, a Youth Ice Fishing Fun Day north of the Blackhawk Avenue Bridge, the eighth annual Go America “Super” Carp Bowl on St. Feriole Island, a carp run/walk at Hoffman Hall, and a rockin’ New Year Concert at Hoffman Hall. A New Year’s Day Rotary Breakfast was held at Huckleberry’s.

The annual Droppin’ of the Carp has become so renowned that not only was Lucky’s descent to the throne mentioned in several newspaper articles around the globe as well as area television stations, this year, it was also noted in a story on the Sunday Morning program on CBS. B&C Photography of Prairie du Chien sent videos of two young people kissing Lucky and of Lucky being lowered at midnight, which were aired on the Sunday Morning show.

In fact, the much-admired Lucky has become so famous that he was stolen from the back of Carp Master Tom Nelson’s pickup truck sometime during the wee hours of New Year’s Day.

“Did you get Lucky New Year’s Eve?” asked Nelson of the possible thief or thieves. “If you did, the Carp Committee is asking for your cooperation. If you got Lucky on New Year’s morn or you know the whereabouts of the famous fish, one of two things. Keep the fish frozen and return it to Lucky Park on Sunday, May 5, 2011 in time for the Plantin’ of the Carp under the new Lucky Park tree, or return Lucky to Valley Fish and Cheese with a great story behind this carp caper.”
*Courier Press - January 5th, 2011

Who got 'Lucky' on New Year's?

.
BY CRAIG D. REBER TH STAFF WRITER *

Actor playing part of culprit
'Lucky No. 10' is found in a Prairie du Chien park more than 24 hours after the 'Droppin' of the Carp' star went missing

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. -- A search for a missing carp yielded an upbeat conclusion late Monday morning in Prairie du Chien.

According to Tom Nelson, one of the originators of Prairie du Chien's annual New Year's Eve "Droppin' of the Carp" event, "Lucky No. 10" disappeared from the back of his pickup truck shortly after midnight on Saturday morning. The 25- to 30-pound carp starred in the event that attracted more than 2,500 people to downtown Prairie du Chien.


Nelson believes a well-intentioned New Year's reveler removed the fish as a practical joke, intending to take it to nearby taverns for a final kiss -- a tradition -- by bar patrons or for a photo.

"They probably had some fun with it," he said. "The tradition of 'Kissin' the Carp' continued into the next day.
"
When Nelson finished with cleanup at Lucky Park, he found Lucky missing, prompting the following question to city residents: "Did you get Lucky on New Year's Eve?"

Lucky's Hideout!

Inmates from a Prairie Correctional Facility cleanup crew found Lucky around 9:30 a.m. Monday behind a tree in Lucky Park where Lucky No. 9 is buried -- part of another "Droppin' of the Carp" tradition. "Lucky No. 10" is scheduled to be buried under a new tree on Sunday, May 1, in the park.

"What fun, as the saga continues," Nelson said, laughing.
Nelson planned to refreeze and temporarily intern Lucky at Valley Fish & Cheese, a popular fish market, for the next four months.

Nelson reported Friday's event attracted people from all over the Midwest and as far as Louisiana. State Rep. Lee Nerison, State Sen. Dan Kapanke and Prairie du Chien Mayor Dave Hemmer enjoyed the festivities. Hemmer was one of the dozens who kissed Lucky.
*http://www.thonline.com/article.cfm?id=307527

Carp Drop going strong - Famous frozen fish stolen*

By Ted Pennekamp
The 10th annual Droppin of the Carp in Prairie du Chien on New Year's Eve capped off the week-long Carp Fest, which drew numerous participants in a variety of carp activities. The weather was fairly warm throughout much of the Carp Fest, but it turned windy and cold Saturday night for the annual Droppin' of the Carp celebration at Lucky Park near the entrance to St. Feriole Island. Nobody was carping, however, as many people braved the low temps in anticipation of the lowering of Lucky at midnight to ring in the New Year. Revelers enjoyed two large bonfires at Lucky Park and those in a dancing mood hoofed to the lively, toe-tapping music of local singers Shane and Red. Many also enjoyed the tasty treats provided inside of a heated tent, including hot chocolate, hotdogs and brats. Several people, including Mayor Dave Hemmer, took the opportunity to lay a big, wet smooch upon Lucky the Carp's delightfully luscious lips. It is said that those who kissed Lucky are sure to receive a year's worth of good luck in 2011. At about 15 minutes before midnight, Ken and Jan Meyer were officially crowned Carp King and Queen. At the stroke of midnight, Lucky was lowered to the cheers of the crowd. A laser light show and fireworks immediately followed. Leading up to the culminating event Saturday night, was the second annual Carp Fest. The Carp Fest began on Dec. 27 and various family and youth events were held at Hoffman Hall throughout the week, including a Big Splash Carp Contest, a Pool Party and other pool events, daily youth games and arts and crafts. Other Carp Fest events during the week included a bowling party at Timber Lanes of Prairie du Chien, a euchre tournament in the City Hall Community Room, a skate party at Lochner Park, a torchlight ski hike a LaRiviere Park, a Youth Ice Fishing Fun Day north of the Blackhawk Avenue Bridge, the eighth annual Go America Super Carp Bowl on St. Feriole Island, a carp run/walk at Hoffman Hall, and a rockin New Year Concert at Hoffman Hall. A New Year's Day Rotary Breakfast was held at Huckleberry's. The annual Droppin' of the Carp has become so renowned that not only was Lucky's descent to the throne mentioned in several newspaper articles around the globe as well as area television stations, this year, it was also noted in a story on the Sunday Morning program on CBS. B&C Photography of Prairie du Chien sent videos of two young people kissing Lucky and of Lucky being lowered at midnight, which were aired on the Sunday Morning show. In fact, the much-admired Lucky has become so famous that he was stolen from the back of Carp Master Tom Nelson's pickup truck sometime during the wee hours of New Year's Day. 'Did you get Lucky New Year's Eve?" asked Nelson of the possible thief or thieves. "If you did, the Carp Committee is asking for your cooperation. If you got Lucky on New Year's morn or you know the whereabouts of the famous fish, one of two things. Keep the fish frozen and return it to Lucky Park on Sunday, May 5, 2011 in time for the Plantin' of the Carp under the new Lucky Park tree, or return Lucky to Valley Fish and Cheese with a great story behind this carp caper.

*Courier Press January 3, 2011

Lucky Fishnapped?

By Craig D. Reber
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. A search for a missing carp yielded an upbeat conclusion late Monday morning in Prairie du Chien.
According to Tom Nelson, one of the originators Prairie du Chien's annual New Years Eve Droppin of the Carp event, Lucky No. 10 disappeared from the back of his pick-up truck shortly after midnight on Saturday morning. The 25- to 30-pound carp starred in the event that attracted more than 2,500 people to downtown Prairie du Chien.
It was found Monday morning.

Follow-up will be forthcoming.

The New Year's Dropping of the Opossum*

(CBS) How do we ring in the New Year? Let our Bill Geist count the ways:



On New Year's Eve all eyes were on the crystal ball dropping in New York's Times Square.

What? Nobody was dropping anything anywhere else? Get serious.

A giant pickle plunged into a barrel in North Carolina!

A 200-pound bologna fell to earth in Pennsylvania.

In Times Square they drop the ball. And in Key West, Fla., they drop a shoe carrying a live drag queen.

A frozen carp named Lucky descended to the throne in Wisconsin.

At Clay's Corner gas station in Brasstown - sort of the Times Square of North Carolina - they were doing a traditional dropping of the opossum.

Clay Logan, founder of the opossum drop, would like you to know that their opossum is lowered, not dropped, as delicately as New York's Waterford crystal ball.

"If we said 'Come to the lowering of the opossum,' well, nobody would enjoy that," Logan said.

He denied it was dangerous: "As a matter of fact, there are probably opossums up around my house with little signs saying, 'Use me next year!'"

Clay says the town is proud to call itself the opossum capital of the world, and pays tribute to the critters each year at a pre-drop spectacular that draws thousands - and where Opie, this year's designated opossum dropee, was the star.

Opie could look down through his plexiglass cage and see the remarkably eclectic extravaganza below.

A Baptist church choir sang, followed by a cross-dressing beauty pageant.

There was the Brasstown Brigade, an outfit that blesses people at the New Year by chanting, "We wish you a happy new year! Great health! Long life!" and firing black powder muskets and playing tuba solos.

And there was a truly moving tribute to fallen soldiers.

. . . which only in Brasstown could be followed by the opossum drop.

It was midnight: Time to "get the opossum down!"

Happy New Year!

When the crowd had finally gone, Opie was released.

Geist asked Logan if that separation was a stirring, emotional moment.

"Well, you know, we say good-bye. We don't kiss. But we say good-bye," he replied.

Happy New Year, Opie. Stay out of traffic.

At Prairie du Chien, Wis., home of the annual Carpfest, New Year's Eve culminates with the Droppin' of the Carp, featuring a frozen carp named Lucky. Visitors are invited to kiss Lucky for good luck. (CBS) 

(Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/02/sunday/main7205692.shtml)

Gettin’ Lucky

On the 10th anniversary of the Droppin’ of the Carp, the secrets of gettin’ Lucky are revealed*

By Ted Pennekamp


As many of you may have surmised, gettin’ Lucky (Lucky the Carp that is) can be an interesting process that requires a fair amount of work.

Each year for the past 10 years, Lucky the Carp needs to be captured and hauled in from the Mississippi River so that he can be “dropped” on New Year’s Eve during the ever-popular and internationally-famous Droppin’ of the Carp in downtown Prairie du Chien.

The ironically named Lucky, much like Lucky Ned Pepper of “True Grit” fame, is a ruthless and cunning outlaw. Lucky the Carp is a member of the invasive carp family, which good citizens have been trying to eradicate from our waters for numerous decades with little success.

Local commercial fisherman and Carp Committee member Mike Valley is one person who knows how to bring Lucky the Carp and members of his infamous family to justice, however.

Through a variety of methods gleaned from a lifetime of scientific experience, Valley has caught perhaps hundreds of thousands of carp from area waters. Valley has captured the elusive Lucky for the past 10 years, as well as many of Lucky’s underlings, through the use of gill-netting on local backwater sloughs.

This past Thursday at about 3 p.m., Valley and Marty Maine of Prairie du Chien set out on the quest for the capture of Lucky once again.

Valley began by using a chain saw to cut a rectangular hole in the ice in a popular fishing spot just north of the Blackhawk Avenue Bridge. Valley and Maine then unraveled and stretched the net out to its full 60-yard length, at which point another rectangular hole was cut in the 14-inch-thick ice.

The net was then pulled in and inspected. Minor repairs were made as the net was placed in a neat pile just behind the first rectangular hole.

Next, Valley marked off and drilled a number of holes about 18-feet apart. These round holes stretched from one rectangular hole to the other.

A long black cord was then tied to a wafer-thin, flexible board that was placed into the second rectangular hole. The long, thin board was about 20 feet long and floated on the water against the underside of the ice. When the end of the board was spotted in the closest round hole, the board was moved along until it was seen at the next round hole, thus pulling the cord with it. By repeating this procedure, the cord was extended under the ice until it stretched from the second rectangular hole to the first rectangular hole about 60 yards upstream.

The net was then attached to the cord. Valley and Maine fed the net into the first rectangular hole, while I pulled the cord out of the second rectangular hole, thus pulling the net under the ice until it reached the second rectangular hole. The net was then attached to a pole stuck into the first rectangular hole and to a pole at the second rectangular hole, thus the net was fully deployed.

There are flotation devices at the top of the net and weights at the bottom so that the net hangs down quite a ways, stretching like a 60-yard-long curtain under water.

Fish milling about in the area may swim into the net. When they struggle, they get ensnared even more.

“Sometimes you get nothing,” said Valley. “But, I’ve caught up to 1,500 pounds of fish in a gill net like this.”

Valley and a few volunteers pulled the net up on Sunday at about 1 p.m. and found various rough specimens. Valley has captured Lucky the Carp 10 times over the past decade, along with many of Lucky’s bottom-feeding brethren.

“Lucky” is the largest carp captured each year. A crown is placed upon his head, and his frozen form draws a huge amount of attention during the hours leading up to, during and after the Droppin’ of the Carp.

Valley said that the 10th Lucky was one of the toughest battles he has ever encountered with this beast of a fish. Lucky the Carp will be on display on New Year’s Eve at Lucky Park just east of the Blackhawk Avenue Bridge. People of all ages can welcome in the new year and kiss Lucky for good luck. Many dignitaries from the area will be at the festivities and rumor has it Mayor Hemmer is practicing his pucker skills. For more information on the many CarpFest Events this week, please call 326-7207.

*Left Photo, Mike Valley, a local commercial fisherman, uses a chain saw to cut a rectangle in the ice Thursday afternoon and start the process of gettin’ Lucky. Right, Valley shows off Lucky the Carp Monday morning. Lucky will be lowered at midnight on New Year’s Eve in downtown Prairie du Chien. 

Courier Press December 29, 2010
A fun-filled event intent on bringing friends, family, and community together for the New Year! Proceeds going to Dropping the Carp Fund and City Park and Recreation Youth Enrichment/Hoffman Hall Activities.
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Additional Information: Contact Prairie du Chien Tourist Info 1-800-732-1673 (www.prairieduchien.org)