Presented by Yamaha Motor Corp USA and Warrior Boats Inc.


Contact: Denny Fox, 920-505-0122

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™)


Two-peat: Team Grothe Wins AIM Weekend Walleye Series Team Of The Year, This Time In North Dakota

Who says lightning doesn’t strike twice?

In 2016, Ross Grothe, then living in Minnesota, first won an AIM tournament on Father’s Day, then the AIM Weekend Walleye Series Yamaha Motor Corp. Team Of The Year with his son Reid.

This season, Grothe, fishing with his other son Roger, and now living in North Dakota, made an amazing two-peat feat, first winning the Father’s Day AIM tournament on Lake Sakakawea, then capturing the 2023 TOY by finishing ninth at the Yamaha-sponsored state championship, also on Lake Sak Saturday, Sept. 9.

“Fan Nation, all we can say is, wow again. The Lake Sak championship at Beulah was won by Dennis Bense who did the equivalent of Babe Ruth showing where that homerun ball would go by predicting what weight would win, and then winning with that weight. This weekend Ross won his second AIM TOY by doing exactly the same thing with his other son that he did in 2016. This is cool beyond words,” said Denny Fox, AIM national tournament director. “What a Dakota weekend indeed, and Team Grothe also drove home with a big bonus from Yamaha.”

Grothe is in a Warrior 208 DC, Yamaha-powered and Garmin-equipped boat, and because they won Team Of The Year, they not only took home that Yamaha T9.9 kicker with power trim, they also received $5,000 in Yamaha Power Pay bucks for landing that TOY title.

“I like to do the best I can, and everybody can have a bad day, that’s going to happen in life. But this is one tournament where I had a little more stress on me,” Ross Grothe said. As in, he was holding onto first in points by a chunk, but two bad days would bear heavy on that big time.

“On a two-day like that, knowing that there’s so much on the line, this is a title only one person can get in a year,” he said, and Day One, well, didn’t go to plan, and despite being in first by 22-plus points, it came time to buckle up on Day Two.

“We ended up losing three fish that would have made a world of difference. We just kind of spun out. We started by Shell Island and decided to continue to move from there and hopscotch. We’d either catch one or lose one and we came in one fish short of five that day. One we lost was right under the boat,” he said. So, what do you do when you hit a snag? In their case, Ross and his son Roger went home to Baldwin, about an hour from Beulah, and regrouped.

“We gathered our thoughts and prepared like we would any other and on the way to the launch we decided to go have fun,” he said. Out came the creek chubs and leeches, and believe it or not, they went back to the spots where they didn’t do what was needed on Day One and did it. They shot from 19th to ninth, and securing that TOY win, and a spot in the 2024 AIM Warrior Boats National Championship Shootout through points.

“I started in the same spot I did on Day One. Lo and behold, by 9:15 we already had our five on the card and it continued to get better on that second day. I decided to stick with what I knew probably would get us to where we needed to be. Using the Garmin was a big incentive. I feel that was one of the many factors in our great success this year.

“We started on Lake Audubon with a fourth. Then we went to Sakakawea at Parshall and we won. Then we went to Devils Lake and took second. We also had a third in this year’s National Championship Shootout, but that doesn’t count for points, so it was a great year,” he said.

“I attribute it to doing our own thing and not worrying about what others are doing. Us being relatively new to North Dakota (this is their third season there), just going with the thought of ‘we’re going to have fun and do our best. I included my son Roger, who’s now 13, on our strategizing, and it’s been super rewarding as well. Roger caught one of the last fish of the day, a 24-1/2-incher. I looked at him and said, ‘you just won Team Of The Year!’”

He said doing the same feat twice was something special, and we agree.

“Reid is my older son. He’s 16 now, and when we won a tournament on Father’s Day and ended up winning Team Of The Year, it was super. It really meant a lot to me. Now we step into 2023, and Roger and I won a tournament on Father’s Day and ended up winning Team Of The Year. It’s super rewarding, and my sons now both have a title that no one can take away from them at their young age.

“It’s always exciting to qualify for the national, and I think there’s a possibility of it being in North Dakota. We’re going to have fun regardless and go out and create some more memories. There’s more to it than catching fish,” he said, and we couldn’t agree more.

Finishing second in TOY points were Matt Ristow and Kyle Hetz of Bismarck. Because they took 2nd at Beulah, the sixth place TOY team of Tom Beaton of West Fargo and Brian Merkel of Minot moved up to make the 2024 Championship Shootout roster. Ristow congratulated the Grothes.

“He was up on us 40 points going into the championship. We gained some ground on him but it was definitely not enough. We were really shooting for Team Of The Year if Ross would have had two bad days,” Ristow said.

“I think this will be my fourth time at the Shootout and Kyle’s third time. The goal of fishing AIM is always to qualify. You want to win it but at the same time you have to play it smart. We were the only team at the championship to double-qualify. We’re just two bridesmaids,” he laughed.

The rest of the Shootout qualifiers in Team Of The Year points are, in third, Craig and Shaeli Kolden of Garrison, and Brandon Van Dusen of Minot and Wyatt Wahl of Mandan.

Stay tuned tomorrow when we’re talking to who won the next Rivers Division qualifier on the Mississippi at Clinton, IA, which happened Sunday, Sept. 10.

The final Rivers Division qualifier will be Sunday, Oct. 1, in Dubuque, IA and we’ll preview that one in the week prior. The Rivers Division championship and Team Of The Year battle will take place Oct. 21-22 on the river at Prairie du Chien, WI.

You can still register for that last Rivers Division qualifier, so time to get in on the fun this fall. In early 2024, watch for the announcement naming the location of the 2024 AIM Warrior Boats National Championship Shootout. Registration will also open early next year for the entire 2024 qualifier season. Learn how you can get in on the fun at

You know you want to. You know you can.

Anglers Insight Marketing LLC (AIM™) is a unique tournament organization created and owned by many of the most accomplished and recognizable professional walleye anglers, along with others who share the mission of advancing competitive walleye fishing and making it sustainable into the future. 

AIM is committed to marketing excellence on behalf of its tournament competitors, the tournament host communities, and the brands that partner with it. AIM is also committed to maintaining healthy fisheries across the nation by the development of the exclusive AIM Catch-Record-Release™ format which is integral to its dynamic events and unparalleled consumer engagement. For more information about AIM™, AIM Pro Walleye Series™, AIM Weekend Walleye Series, AIM sponsors and AIM anglers, visit

AIM Presenting Sponsors: Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Warrior Boats inc.  

AIM Supporting Sponsors: Mercury Marine, Garmin, Navionics, Power Pole, Worldwide Marine Insurance, Off Shore Tackle, Gemini Sport Marketing, Moonshine Lures Shiver Minnow, JT Outdoors Products, McQuoids Inn, Rosemore Outdoor Gear, Outdoor Authority fish house rentals, Island Bar and Grill, Bait Box on the Rock, Oconto County WI, Odyssey Battery.

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