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America Cup Fly Fishing Tourney

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This week's sixth annual America Cup fly-fishing tournament brings an international field of fly-fishermen to the rivers and lakes of Eagle and Summit counties in an event that doubles as the first rehearsal event for the 2016 world fly-fishing championships in Vail.

Source: Scott Willoughby / Denver Post

The Denver Post reports that 75 competitors from Japan, Australia, Europe and throughout the U.S. will apply their long-rod skills to the Blue and Colorado rivers along with Dillon Reservoir and Sylvan Lake near Eagle.

"We're speaking the common language of fly-fishing," event director John Knight of Minturn said. "You're not playing for money. You're playing for the prestige of winning the cup, medals and bragging rights."

Money, however, does play a part in the event many consider the largest and most prestigious fly-fishing competition in the U.S. The America Cup serves as a fundraiser for Project Healing Waters, donating $5,000 last year to the nonprofit group focused on introducing wounded war veterans to fly-fishing.

Before the 15-team tournament begins this Friday, competing anglers and volunteer guides from the Vail Valley are taking Project Healing Waters participants from Fort Carson to fish the Eagle River and ponds of historic Camp Hale, where the 10th Mountain Division trained during World War II.

"It's a great way to start the event and give something back to the soldiers," Knight said.

The Project Healing Waters portion of the America Cup showcases the pervading attitude of competitive fly-fishing's most prominent ambassadors. Part of the philosophy behind European organization FIPS-Mouche-sanctioned championships such as the America Cup is that they are conducted in accordance with the Olympic ideal.

After five years of establishing its character and the quality of its fisheries, Knight's event impressed the sport's governing body for international competition enough that it awarded its most prestigious competition, the world fly-fishing championships, to a U.S. host for the first time since 1997 in Jackson, Wyo. The junior world championships will preface the 2016 world championships in Vail in 2015.

"It's been a big goal of a lot of fishermen and myself to bring the world fly-fishing championships back to the U.S.," Knight said. "It really showcases the diversity of the water in Colorado."

Colorado's fishing community is encouraged to get in on the action on Thursday, when a $5 entry fee allows anyone with any size of fly rod a chance to compete for a cash prize in ‘The Cup Casting Comp’ held at 4pm on Vail's International Bridge.

Visit the website at www.theamericacup.com or call Knight at 970-376-5703  for further information.

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