LAKE GEORGE, Colo. — The 2011 Colorado Classic Ice Fishing Tournament will start with the Grand Slam on Jan. 8, 2011, followed by the South Park Ice Masters on Feb. 5 and ending with Marina March Madness on March 5.

The 11 Mile Marina is proud to announce that the Denver Sports Column, Colorado’s Top Sports Restaurant/Bar, located at 1930 Blake Street, will be the new presenting sponsor for the ice fishing tournament.

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With almost 700 contestants in last year’s series, The Classic has matured into one of the state’s premiere ice fishing contests. In addition to Colorado fishermen, the tournament draws hard water anglers from Wyoming, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska.

“When the cash payouts get as big as they do, anglers from all over make the trip to Eleven Mile,” said tournament director Larry Falk. The tournament series, which started in 2002, has grown into an annual rite of winter for ice fishermen who want to test their skills against others in friendly competition.

All tournament contests are team events and each team consists of two anglers, one of whom must be at least 18 years old. Each event stands alone as a separate contest. If a team competes in all three events, there is a point system that yields additional prize money.

All contests start at 7 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. Thousands of dollars in cash prizes, determined by the number of participating teams, are up for grabs. In addition, there are numerous door prizes provided by participating sponsors that are given away at each contest’s award ceremony. This year, numerous pairs of Avalanche and Nuggets tickets provided by the Sports Column will be awarded as prizes. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Guffey Community Charter School.

Park passes are required for all vehicles entering the park. A valid Colorado fishing license is also required for all participants.

Park officials remind ice fishermen that ice thicknesses may vary considerably within relatively short walking distances. Anyone venturing out onto the ice should always go with a partner, drill test holes to determine ice thickness, wear a life jacket and carry ice picks, 50 feet of rope and a cell phone. Park rangers also recommend that anglers stay away from pressure ridges, open water and ice that are porous, soft or have granulated crystals.

For more information on the tournament, go to www.11milesports.com or call 1 (877) 725-3172. For Eleven Mile State Park information, call the office at (719) 748-3401 or visit www.parks.state.co.us.

Attracting more than 12 million visitors per year, Colorado’s 42 State Parks are a vital cornerstone of Colorado’s economy and quality of life. Colorado State Parks encompass 225,260 land and water acres, offering some of the best outdoor recreation destinations in the state. Colorado State Parks is a leader in providing opportunities for outdoor recreation, protecting the state’s favorite landscapes, teaching generations about nature and partnering with communities. Colorado State Parks also manage more than 4,100 campsites, and 57 cabins and yurts.

Source: Colorado State Parks

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