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January 11, 2013 09:52 PM

Anglers To Battle Weather To Start Tournament

mobridge, sd

The Mobridge Ice Fishing Tournament has more people and prizes than ever before but it's battling bad weather this year.

Participants face a winter storm warning for part of the event.

"I'll probably come out and try it, see how it's going," Harold Ball said. "I got my son here. He can pull the sled out and I can follow."

Ball drove from Rapid City for the tournament. About three quarters of the event's 1,000 participants come from outside the Mobridge area. With many of them already in town by the middle of the day Friday and others on the way, organizers met and decided not to change the tournament dates.

"We're just going to have to go with it and see what happens and hopefully everyone can get here tonight," tourism committee member Dawn Konald said.

Organizers set up $165,000 worth of prizes Friday, and the event featured an expo. The department of transportation is advising no travel in parts of the state throughout parts of the weekend but many participants arrived early.

And rolling with the weather is nothing new for organizers of the tournament. This year, the ice is thick enough to support vehicles. Last year, it was so warm there was open water. There's been a 30 below year and a year with so much snow, only snowmobiles could get on the ice.

"It's going to make it a little tough. But we've braved it all. Next year's going to be the good weather year," Konald said.

Either way, Ball will probably sign up again. He's enjoyed his four years participating in the tournament.

"I've been in worse weather than this," Ball said.

And by the looks of it, he'll likely see worse before the weekend's done too.

This is the tournament's 12th year. It grew this year by 50 teams and $15,000 in prizes.

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