The 20th Annual Milk River Catfish Classic was historic in more ways than one. In the weeks leading up to the tournament, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce announced a “New” event in conjunction with the Catfish Classic. The Inaugural Milk River Catfish Days brought a whole new flavor to downtown Glasgow that lasted the entire weekend. The community enjoyed two nights of live music, a pancake breakfast, a bloody Mary and breakfast burrito brunch hosted by the Elks, a corn hole tournament for both youth and adults, a beer pong tournament, a catfish fry catered by the Cottonwood, the school’s out carnival hosted by the Children’s Museum, a 1 Mile / 5k Race called the Catfish Crawl, a pitching booth hosted by the Glasgow Reds, Catfish “Crazy Days” for vendors and retail stores alike, a youth fishing tournament at Home Run Pond, and a youth outdoors clinic hosted by the Hi-Line Sportsmen. All of the aforementioned events added to the traditional; Friday night Calcutta, Social, and Street Dance, the 20th Annual Cat Classic, and the “Famous Midnight Weigh-ins” to make this year’s version one that will not be soon forgotten.
This year’s 80-team field was filled during the first month of open registration. Five teams were pulled off of a waiting list as the tournament neared making it a mix of veteran and inexperienced tournament anglers. This year’s roster was also littered with an abundance of local anglers and teams from all over the region; most notably Montana Cats Circuit anglers from Billings, Laurel, Sidney and everywhere in between.
In previous years we have had high water, low water, warm weather, cold weather, windy, no wind, and just about every possible condition you can imagine. This year was interesting for the simple fact that the weather was cooperative for tournament night and most of the week leading up to the event. Weather hovered in the 80s on Friday and again on tournament day. Little to no wind, no precipitation, and slightly dropping water conditions provided anglers with a chance to put up big weights and the entire 80-team field did not disappoint.
Steve Harris Jr., Sidney, and Steve Lowrey, Fairview, are Cat Classic veterans and they hit the shoreline running on Saturday night. These teammates own jet boats and live on the Yellowstone River, but went it came to navigating the Cat Classic on an evening where water levels were average, the teammates elected that sticking to the shore would be in their best interest. This is Harris’ eleventh year fishing the event and he has particularly focused on one main stretch of river and reading it and studying it as much as he can. The Richland County catfish junkies toted their five cats up on the stage at nearly 1 a.m. and watched the scale dial up to an impressive 36.42 pounds. Good enough to take home the 20th Annual Cat Classic Championship and command a loud ovation from an estimated 500 spectators in attendance.
Others placing from the Sidney and Fairview area were Casey Peterson and Tobin Bell, 18th; Steve Harris and Quintin Nelson, 37th; George Stuckers and Cody Stensland, 60th.
A record tying twenty-eight teams weighed in 20 or more pounds and an all-time Montana Cats Circuit record 78 teams weighed in fish! Congratulations to the entire tournament field for being a part of a history making night of fishing.