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Alexandrian reels in big prize

Contributed photo Gene Provost of Alexandria is shown behind a boat-shaped cart used in the Rapala Fishing Spree promotion at the Rapala warehouse in Eagan.

Gene Provost of Alexandria, an avid fisherman, reeled in a big one Tuesday.

He was among five Minnesotans who won the chance to compete in a "shopping spree" at the Rapala warehouse in Eagan on June 23.

Provost netted one of the two top prizes - $5,000 worth of Rapala products.

Here's how it all happened:

To celebrate Minnesota's love of fishing, the Lottery and Rapala, the world's leading brand of fishing lures, tackle and equipment, teamed up for the Rapala Fishing Spree promotion.

Lottery players entered non-winning "Fishin' for Fortune" scratch tickets for their chance to fill specially-designed boat carts with Rapala merchandise.

The Lottery received more than 10,000 entries for the chance to be one of the five finalists.

The two finalists that came closest to gathering $1,000 in Rapala merchandise during the event without going over that amount won their choice of $5,000 in Rapala merchandise.

The remaining finalists each won $500 Visa cards and gift bags.

Provost said he was thrilled that he was chosen as a finalist. He and his wife attended the spree on Tuesday, but Provost decided to have his "fishing buddy" - D.J. Ashler of Lowry - act as his proxy during the event.

"I guess I chose the right guy!" he said with a laugh after winning the $5,000 shopping spree. "This is the first time I've ever won anything in my life. It was quite a big surprise. My wife was even more jazzed than I was!"

Glenn Henrikson of Moorhead was the other $5,000 fishing spree winner. The other three finalists were Thomas Holst from Eyota, Dawn Walker from Hastings and Marilyn Elkie from St. Michael.