Catfish Tournament Features Multiple Destinations, One Payout Schedule
by Ron Presley
The Missouri River Catfish Classic teams up multiple catfish tournament directors to hold specific destination tournaments, all vying for the same prize.
The idea for this multi-location/same-prize catfish tournament began in a conversation between two catfishing friends. Craig Norris was talking with Andy Thompson about an idea that he had. They were observing the growing trend of higher boat counts and bigger payout events when they came up with the idea to grow the boat count by competing at different locations on the same day. All entries from every location then go into the same purse and are distributed to the winners according to tournament rules.
“It all started one day while I was on the phone with my good friend Andy Thompson,” recalled Norris. “We were talking about having a tournament that extended over a long stretch of the Missouri River.”
“We bounced ideas back and forth to come up with a plan,” confirmed Thompson. “We were trying to figure out how to put this tournament together in a way that all anglers could afford to fish the tournament without having to pay a lot of extra money in fuel and travel expenses. Secondly, we wanted to give anglers the opportunity to launch and fish water that each angler is familiar with. Having different locations would benefit many more anglers and they would not have to travel 60-plus miles on the Missouri River to their favorite destination.”
An overall goal that Norris and Thompson were reaching for was involving more anglers in a big payout tournament but with fewer out-of-pocket costs for the anglers. The multiple locations make such a tournament feasible for a lot of anglers and possibly attract some new anglers.
“Relieving the time restraints and extra money required to travel to a single destination could bring in some new anglers to tournament fishing,” explained Thompson. “It would eliminate the need to travel to a destination multiple weeks before a tournament to prefish and learn a new stretch of the river.”
A secondary benefit of a multiple-location tournament is less fishing pressure on a single location. As an example, instead of 100 boat tournament prefishing in a single location, the 100 boats will be spread out, in this case from Sioux City Iowa to St Charles Missouri.
As the Missouri River Catfish Classic plan developed, a Guaranteed Payout schedule based on the number of boats was established with a $230 entry fee. With all entries from all locations going into the same prize pool they advertised the guaranteed first-place payout with 50 boats or more would be $5,000; $10,000 with 100 boats or more; and $20,000 with 200 boats or more.
“Craig has been working really hard,” added Thompson. “He has talked with and continues to coordinate with multiple tournament directors to make this tournament happen.”
Coordinating possible locations with existing tournament directors along the Missouri River and convincing them to join in on the concept resulted in multiple locations. Seven (7) willing and able catfish tournament directors who operate tournaments in various locations came on board.
The resulting locations are as follows:
- Sioux City Iowa — Tournament Director Mike Gray
- Nebraska City Nebraska — Tournament Director Denny lburg
- Atchison Kansas — Tournament Director William Pranker
- Lexington Missouri — Tournament Director Dustin Johnson
- Glasgow Missouri — Tournament Director Shane Wyatt
- Jefferson City Missouri — Tournament Director Alex Nagy
- St Charles Missouri — Tournament Director Wallace Maier
Many sponsors have already joined in too. If you are interested in being a sponsor of the Missouri River Catfish Classic contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MISSOURI RIVER CATFISH CLASSIC SPONSORS
- Matthew Lardinois with Amped Outdoors (Donating $500 to the 2nd place Big Fish)
- Adam Fleagle With Fleagle Electric (Donating $250 to the Highest Finishing Youth. Will also donate $1000 if the BIG FISH of the event is personally caught by youth with video evidence of the battle)
- John Daniels with D&J Marine (Donating $250 to the Highest Finishing Woman)
- Britt Moore with Bottle Bobbers (Donating $250 to the Highest Finishing Veteran)
- Kevin Parks with Parks Enterprise (Donating the Trophies for the event)
- Nathan Davis with Tackle Bandit (Donating $250 for the closest weight guessed or $500 for an exact guess)
- Matt Knight with Madkatz Rods (Donating $500 to the big fish winner If the boat is ALL MADKATZ RODS)
- Kaleb Page and The Catch The Fever Crew (Donating $500 cash or store credit to the Highest Finishing Youth and $500 cash or store credit to the Highest Finishing Veteran)
- Angie Stover with Maci’s Fish ‘n Finds (Donating a $250 gift certificate to the SKUNK POT and Donating $250 to the Highest Finishing Angler with a Maci’s Fish ‘n Finds decal ON their boat)
- Colton Howell with MulTBars (Donating $250 store credit to the highest finishing team using MulTBar Rod Holders)
- Kevin Rogers with Side Dump Industries (Donating $250 cash to the highest-finishing youth and $250 cash to the highest-finishing woman)
This event has the potential of being a positive force in the growth of the sport of catfishing. It combines the popularity of smaller local tournaments with the payout structure of larger tournaments.
Dustin Johnson, Tournament Director at the Lexington, Missouri location recognized Craig Norris’s work on the Missouri River Classic and said, “I think that if we can pull this off without too many bumps in the road it would open up many doors and help grow the sport of catfishing.”
Alex Nagy, Twisted Cat Outdoors, is the director at the Jefferson City location. He sees the possibilities that such a tournament can present.
“I think this event has the potential to be very awesome if everything goes smoothly,” said Nagy. “It will take a lot of dedicated people to make it go well and continue moving forward.”
“I am enthusiastic about this new event and the unique qualities it adds by fishing so many miles on the Missouri River. I am excited to see the growth of the catfishing sport and can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Registration is online only and opens on April 1st, 2023. Registration closes November 1, 2023, for the November 4, 2023 tournament.
To keep up with the tournament anglers can join the Missouri River Catfish Classic Facebook Group.