5/13/17 (Huntley, MT)- The 11th Annual Yellowstone Challenge Catfish Tournament once again threw the top catfish anglers in Montana a curve ball. With erratic spring weather, this tourney consistently provides inconsistent and unpredictable conditions. This year wasn’t an exception. Due to unseasonably warm temperatures the week leading up to the event, the river swelled to over 30K CFS, with water levels rising near a foot on tournament day. The increased flows created a make-shift obstacle course on the water with floating debris, trees and branches requiring extra attention during river navigation. Throw in some afternoon rain showers and it was setting up to be an intriguing day on the water.
The anglers, however, were up to the challenge and knocked this curve ball out of the park. An AMAZING 47 teams weighed in a 4 fish limit of cats. 34 teams cracked the 20lb mark, smashing the previous record set in 2013 (14 teams). To put this in perspective, consider that only three other times in tournament history has the field eclipsed 10+ teams weighing in 20lb+ baskets. These amazing fishermen were able to stay safe, have fun and break records in the process.
Cody Evans of Billings electrified the crowd showing off the biggest fish of the tournament, tipping the scales at an impressive 11.09 lbs. Tournament rookies Joe Mueller and Derek Kirkwood of Billings made the most of their debut finishing in 10th place with an impressive basket of 25.53 lbs. Veterans Steven Lowrey and James Decker wrapped up a 25.57 total and stressed at weigh-ins they were just 1 more kicker fish of putting them over the top. Josh Marottek and his father Charles Marottek represented the Hi-Line like champs and were happy with their improved finish from last year. “It’s much better than getting skunked like we did last year”, Charles said. The father/son combo of Steve Harris Jr. & Sr. continued their impressive run near the top, finishing in 7th. 6th place finishers and first time participants Alyssa and Perry Vandersloot were one of the last teams to sign up for the event. Their patience was rewarded with an awesome day on the water, finishing with 26.72 lbs.
The top 5 was once again packed full of tourney vets. Otis Oblander and his son Austin landed an impressive 27 lbs of fish to claim 5th, once again proving they are one of the top teams on this stretch of river. Dan LaPierre and Brad Riedlinger sat in the leader chairs for an eternity with 27.04 lbs., landing them in 4th. The brother combo of Brenner and Jason Flaten (8 tourney Championships between the two) were able to net 27.26 lbs and take home another plaque for the wall finishing in 3rd. Sidney anglers and perennial studs Chad & Kyle Mueller edged up the board with 28.47 lbs. of Cats to finish just off the lead in 2nd. No one, however, could topple 2016 Montana Cats Co-Anglers of the year and last year’s Yellowstone Champions Nicholas Fortier and Randy Franco of Billings. This duo once again topped the 30 lb mark with their championship basket coming in with 30.5 lbs of Yellowstone piggies. Congratulations Nicholas and Randy on ANOTHER Yellowstone Challenge championship!
The Yellowstone Challenge and Montana Cats would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make this tournament possible: Cowboys, Riverside Marine & Cycle (Miles City), KR Rauch Company, Cat River Anchors, Briggs Distributing, Scheels, Whisker Seeker Tackle, B’N’M’ Poles, Pioneer Wireline Services & RS Jet Boat Anchors.
The Montana Catfish Association is a NON-PROFIT organization that runs this tournament and others around the state to help promote Channel Catfish in Montana and local communities. All of our tournaments are OVER 100% payback. That means 100% CASH payback from entries and thousands of dollars in additional prizes. We’re in it for the fishermen, local communities and Channel Catfish. If you check out the tournament rosters, you’ll notice a distinct “family” fell to it. We love the friendly competition and comradery these events provide. Lifelong friendships have and will continue to develop as a result. Thank you SO much to everyone that participates in our events to make us one of THE most successful Catfish circuits in the NATION!
If you haven’t checked us out online, please take the opportunity to do so @ montanacats.com. Stay connected to us on social media outlets Facebook, twitter and our message board. Also, please sign up for our email list to stay better informed on ALL the happenings with Montana Cats year round.
Two of our Montana Cats events; the Missouri River Catfish Clash in Williston, ND and Monster Cat Roundup in Sidney still have openings. Take this opportunity to sign up now before it’s too late. See everyone in Glasgow for the second leg of the Montana Catfish Association tour at the Milk River Catfish Classic on June 3rd.
Pictures for this event can be found here.
|1.||Randy Franco (Billings, MT) / Nicholas Fortier (Billings, MT)||30.50 lbs.|
|2.||Chad Mueller (Sidney, MT) / Kyle Mueller (Sidney, MT)||28.47 lbs.|
|3.||Brenner Flaten (Glasgow, MT) / Jason Flaten (West Wendover, NV)||27.26 lbs.|
|4.||Dan LaPierre (Billings, MT) / Brad Riedlinger (Laurel, MT)||27.04 lbs.|
|5.||Otis Oblander (Ballantine, MT) / Austin Oblander (Ballantine, MT)||27.00 lbs.|
|6.||Perry Vandersloot (Laurel, MT) / Alyssa Vandersloot (Laurel, MT)||26.72 lbs.|
|7.||Steve Harris Jr. (Sidney, MT) / Steve Harris Sr. (Sidney, MT)||26.63 lbs.|
|8.||Josh Marottek (Med Lake, MT) / Charles Marottek (Poplar, MT)||25.63 lbs.|
|9.||Steve Lowrey (Fairview, MT) / James Decker (Sidney, MT)||25.57 lbs.|
|10.||Joe Mueller (Billings, MT) / Derek Kirkwood (Billings, MT)||25.53 lbs.|
|11.||Blake Gauer (Park City, MT) / Lindsey Gauer (Park City, MT)||25.13 lbs.|
|12.||Garrett Hauge (Shepherd, MT) / Ty Hample (Billings, MT)||24.84 lbs.|
|13.||Corey Bushman (Billings, MT) / Cody Evans (Billings, MT)||24.82 lbs.|
|14.||Robert Peterson (Billings, MT) / Jayson Riggin (Billings, MT)||24.45 lbs.|
|15.||Jeremiah Johnson (Laurel, MT) / Chad Rolison (Laurel, MT)||24.34 lbs.|
|16.||Kent Hagen (Billings, MT) / Tucker Hays (Billings, MT)||23.91 lbs.|
|17.||Tom Day (Billings, MT) / Abraham T. Hawkins (Billings, MT)||23.48 lbs.|
|18.||Ramon Dyba (Miles City, MT) / Ben Ferren (Billings, MT)||23.45 lbs.|
|19.||Cole Plouffe (Glendive, MT) / Austin Eckland (Glendive, MT)||23.26 lbs.|
|20.||Cody Veal (Story, WY) / Darin Gagliano (Story, WY)||22.99 lbs.|
|21.||Derek Carda (Sidney, MT) / Brady Mueller (Sidney, MT)||22.96 lbs.|
|22.||George Stuckers Jr. (Sidney, MT) / George Stuckers Sr. (Worden, MT)||22.78 lbs.|
|23.||Ray Lambrecht (Billings, MT) / Paxton Lambrecht (Billings, MT)||22.45 lbs.|
|24.||Troy Cotter (Sidney, MT) / Mike Licking (Sidney, MT)||22.41 lbs.|
|25.||Bobby Wise (Billings, MT) / Robert Wise (Billings, MT)||21.86 lbs.|
|26.||Kevin Howie (Billings, MT) / Travis Kennedy (Billings, MT)||21.84 lbs.|
|27.||Eddie White (Billings, MT) / Ann White (Billings, MT)||21.56 lbs.|
|28.||Paul Waller (Billings, MT) / Perry Jones (Billings, MT)||21.46 lbs.|
|29.||Rod Seder (Billings, MT) / Rob Seder (Hardin, MT)||21.37 lbs.|
|30.||Justin King (Sidney, MT) / Jeremiah Hopstad (Billings, MT)||20.23 lbs.|
|31.||Sean Hill (Great Falls, MT) / Jeromy Riggin (Great Falls, MT)||20.23 lbs.|
|32.||Todd Dooley (Sidney, MT) / Sam Syth (Sidney, MT)||20.18 lbs.|
|33.||Jordan Hoagland (Billings, MT) / Eric Wolff (Billings, MT)||20.10 lbs.|
|34.||Eric Mayer (Billings, MT) / Bryan Kendrick (Billings, MT)||20.05 lbs.|
|35.||Bryon Armour (Lewistown, MT) / Ty Thomas (Lewistown, MT)||19.95 lbs.|
|36.||Matthew Bushman (Billings, MT) / Zac Bushman (Billings, MT)||19.55 lbs.|
|37.||Wade Bomar (Billings, MT) / Edward Seiders (Billings, MT)||18.90 lbs.|
|38.||Luke Brady (Billings, MT) / Michael Sykes (Billings, MT)||18.86 lbs.|
|39.||Charles Ferguson (Big Timber, MT) / Will Grundhauser (Billings, MT)||18.69 lbs.|
|40.||Dan Dupea (Billings, MT) / Eli Dupea (BIllings, MT)||18.42 lbs.|
|41.||Rick Davis (Billings, MT) / Bobby Srb (Billings, MT)||17.58 lbs.|
|42.||Levi Krehmeyer (Gillette, WY) / Travis Larsen (Gillette, WY)||15.99 lbs.|
|43.||Scott Swanson (Billings, MT) / Bobbie Swanson (Billings, MT)||15.62 lbs.|
|44.||Dan Achten (Laurel, MT) / Amber Achten (Laurel, MT)||15.61 lbs.|
|45.||Blayze Mikkleson (Shepherd, MT) / Dustin Naely (Shepherd, MT)||15.46 lbs.|
|46.||Josh Moore (Sidney, MT) / Chris Peterson (Savage, MT)||15.06 lbs.|
|47.||Scott Schmidt (Sidney, MT) / Shane Litten (Sidney, MT)||14.44 lbs.|
|48.||Jordan Van Haele (Miles City, MT) / Jim Crawford (Sheridan, WY)||6.16 lbs.|
|49.||Lance Hodgson (Sheridan, WY) / Doyle Hodgson (Sheridan, WY)||0.00 lbs.|
|50.||Justin Hauge (Shepherd, MT) / Jon Stoller (Billings, MT)||0.00 lbs.|
|51.||Paul Luepke (Columbus, MT) / Brian Luepke (Columbus, MT)||SCRATCH|
|52.||Larry Green (Billings, MT) / Chris Bentz (Billings, MT)||DQ – BANNED|