The 16th Annual Kolar Toyota ALS Walleye Tournament was held on Saturday, June 4, 2011 on Island Lake, Duluth, MN. There were 300 anglers competing this year in 145 boats. The anglers, hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, auction donors and guests helped to raise more than $140,000 for the Minnesota/North Dakota/South Dakota Chapter. The anglers joined celebrity hosts Jim Johnson, Darby Hendrickson and Terry Steinbach. Superior anglers Troy Skorich and Chris Edquist came close in 2010, and this year they closed the deal, winning their first ever Kolar Toyota ALS Walleye Tournament championship. Their six walleyes weighed 10.84 pounds, edging runners-up Bryan Kershaw of Duluth and Jeff Romosz of Saginaw by less than one half pound (10.42 lbs). Third place honors went to Thomas Murphy (Superior, WI) and Mike Jasper (Duluth) with a basket weighing 6.55 lbs. Sponsored by Rassat Outdoor Group, the Big Walleye Bonanza honors the biggest fish. This year's honors went to Bryan Kershaw (Duluth) and Jeff Romosz (Saginaw) with a fish weighing in at 4.72 lbs. New this year was a chance to win big when catching zero fish. The Get Skunked program was a hit with anglers and the proud winners were Rob Sanvik (North Branch) and John Niemi (Sauk Rapids).
Anglers joined hundreds of attendees at the banquet ceremonies held at Skyline Party & Game Zone in Duluth. A live and silent auction, dinner and awards ceremony rounded out the evening. The winners of the five grand prizes of a $1,000 Marine General gift card were Brett Kolquist (Duluth), Scott Savage (Duluth), Jim Fleischhacker (Anchorage, AK), Nancy Santti (Cloquet) and Mike Utech (Brookston). The 4th Annual Kevin Kolquist Most Valuable Participant Award was also presented. Kevin and his family have planned and carried out the Walleye Tournament since it started 16 years ago. Kevin died of ALS in April 2007. The award was presented to the late Norm Ruth. Norm was truly admired by Kevin. He was a fixture at the tournament from day one. He was loved by all who knew him, including his family. Norm was their hero as well as to many others. And like Kevin's, Norm's life was well-lived. Accepting the award on Norm's behalf was his wife Betty and his son Ryan.
We want to give a huge thanks to our sponsors: Kolar Toyota; American Family Insurance; Amsoil, Inc.; Art Dimension; C.H. Robinson; Coca Cola; Country Inn & Suites; Creative Threads, Inc.; Essentia Health; Famous Dave's; Fox Sports North; GPM, Inc.; Hartel's-DBJ Disposal; I-Gogs; Lac Seul Evergreen Lodge; Lamar Outdoor; Lund Boats; Marine General; McDonald's; Mellin Promotions; Mercury Marine; Minnesota Air-Carrier; Minnesota Twins; Nahan Printing; National Audio & Visual; 95-KQDS; Phillips; ProPrint; Rassat Outdoor Group; RJ's Sport and Cycle; Skyline Party & Game Zone; SMDC; St. Luke's; Super One Foods; Superior Beverage-Budweiser; Uncle Phil's, and Wheaties Fuel. A huge thank you goes to our committee members, volunteers and all the participants for making this event so successful.