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Organizers issue statement after no fish were caught in Alexandria tourney

Organizers of the 2011 Ice Fishing Challenge, held on Lake Agnes in Alexandria Saturday, issued the following statement this morning:

"As unbelievable as it may sound, there were no fish caught in the 2011 Ice Fishing Challenge. Because of this, the organizers of the Ice Fishing Challenge have decided to roll the prize package forward so the 2012 Ice Fishing Challenge will be most lucrative in the history of the tournament. The 2012 Challenge will also be held at a different location.

We understand the disappointment by many of the participants in this year's contest. We can assure you that as the organizers of the Ice Fishing Challenge we were very disappointed in the turn of events as well. No one could have anticipated no fish being caught in the contest but after that did happen we were left with very few options. Many participants wanted us to give the prizes away in a drawing but unfortunately we were legally unable to do so. Drawing for the prizes would have constituted a raffle and we did not have a permit for a raffle. Even if we did have or were able to obtain a permit there were several reasons we would not have been able to treat this as a raffle. A few of the reasons were:

1. Many of the participants were under 18 years of age and raffle tickets can't be purchased by minors in MN.

2. Many tickets were given away in various promotions and raffle tickets cannot be given away in MN.

3. All of the tickets in a raffle need to be sold for the same price in MN. Our tickets had been sold at a discount of $25 for the first 25 days they were sold.

Please see the MN gambling board's rules for conducting a raffle at the following website.

Without the option of holding a drawing for this year's prizes, we felt that the most fair thing to do was to roll this year's prizes into next year's prize package. The organizations that sponsor the Ice Fishing Challenge are not profiting in any way by doing this.

We would like to thank you for participating in this year's Ice Fishing Challenge. We hope that you can understand our choices given this information and that you will join us for next year's Challenge at a new venue with our increased prize package.

The Alexandria Ice Fishing Challenge returns all profits to local charities. Over $86,000 since 2004. Recipients included Douglas County United Way, Alexandria YMCA, Big Ole Park, Douglas County Food Shelf, and fishing piers at area lakes. Along with the aforementioned non-profit organizations the IFC has donated thousands of additional dollars in smaller increments to others in the communities we live, work and serve in."