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Somerset fishing contest raises $30,000 profit

Approximately $30,000 of profit is the result of the fifth annual Somerset Youth Athletic Association Ice Fishing Contest on Bass Lake in Somerset on Feb. 21.

More than $50,000 in prizes was awarded during the tournament. The main chunk of the prize money was the $27,500 grand prize pickup truck that was given to the tournament winner. In each of the five years of the tournament, the person who caught the largest fish has taken home a brand new vehicle. This year's prize package was the largest ever offered for the tournament.

This was a record-breaking year in several areas for the fishing tournament. The number of entries in the tournament has increased each year. There were 1,416 adult entries this year. That is a 16 percent increase from last year and is the largest single-year increase since the tournament started. There were also more than 300 youth entries, the largest total ever.

"We've seen at least a 12 percent growth each year," said Dave Praschak, tournament spokesman.

All of the sponsors were pleased with this year's tournament and plan to return next year, Praschak reported. He said the volunteer staff was also the best ever for the tournament.

Last year's tournament profit was used in several areas, but the main area was a major upgrade of the Somerset Middle School weight room. Praschak said meetings will be held in the near future to decide how this year's funds will be distributed. He said youth athletics in Somerset will be a main focus this year. He suggested anyone with ideas for youth sports should contact the varsity coach of that sport with their ideas.