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Prize-winning angler accused of cheating in Park Rapids contest

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A Long Prairie man with a history of winning big-ticket items in Minnesota fishing tournaments is now being accused of cheating.

The Wadena Pioneer Journal reports Tom Mead was escorted off the ice of Fish Hook Lake by the Hubbard County Sheriff on Feb. 2 after anglers reported him to organizers of Park Rapids American Legion Community Fishing Contest.

In an interview, Mead said other contestants are accusing him of going into the tournament with a northern already in his bucket. Mead denies the claims and says he caught the fish fair and square.

Mead has won a couple grand prizes in past years including a Ford F150 in Alexandria and an ATV at the same tournament just two years ago.

The newspaper says Mead has a disability that allows him to drive his vehicle onto the ice, but security personnel check every angler for contraband on the way through the entry gates.

The case has been turned over to local authorities. Mead had not been charged.

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