By Josie Bratten
The Courier 

Calcutta Crew Reels in Another Crowd

 


There was a hum in the air as the sun set behind the iconic Montana Bar on June 2. Fishermen and fans gathered for the Calcutta on the eve of the 18th annual Catfish Classic. Although the tournament has always been a huge hit with local and traveling fishermen alike, the roster for this year’s event filled in record time, with 40 spots being claimed in a mere three days. Founder Brenner Flaten remarked during the event that the tournament has grown beyond what anyone ever expected.

The increase in popularity of the tournament was apparent in the number of attendees at the Calcutta. From her onstage view, Trial by Fire band member Rachel Sigmunstad said, “There are definitely more people here now than there were last year at this time.”

These additional folks flocked to the Calcutta for a variety of reasons. First was the Calcutta crew itself: tournament organizers, T-shirt selling volunteers, the bands, an auctionee, and a food truck crew, all striving to make the Calcutta a success. Then, the avid fishermen and women, eagerly awaiting the bidding itself after a long day of amassing the cut-bait needed to lure in those prized, porky catfish.


Next were the music fans, thrilled to be out dancing to some live music on a flawless June evening.

Sigmunstad stated that the Calcutta is one of her very favorite gigs to play precisely because of the infectiously festive mood that arrises every year at the event, rain or shine. Another Calcutta-goer I spoke to admitted that even though he has never even known anyone fishing in the tournament, he attends the Calcutta every year simply because of the music and “really great atmosphere.”

The tournament itself and storied midnight weigh-ins lived up to the hype around town, with a whole lot of catfish being hauled in. Nate and Jerry Molstad of Havre and Glasgow, claimed their fifth title, with a total weight of 40.16lbs.

Nate and Jerry Mostad’s 40.16lbs was also the second highest weight in the history of the tournament. Saturday evening also marked only the third time in tournament history where at least four fish have been brought in weighing over 10lbs. Finally, a record 76 of the 80 teams were able to weigh-in fish at the midnight weigh-in, topping the previous record, set last year, of 74 teams. What a way to close out a great weekend of friends, fun, and especially, fish.

 

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