By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: May 2014
Winners and staff of the first annual Battle of the Big Cats took a moment to pose with their prizes.
Battle of the Big Cats: Route 66’s Richest Noodling Showdown willreturn to the Claremore Expo Center on June 14. With last year’s premiere event surpassing everyone’s expectations, organizer Kaleb Summers is excited about the upcoming tournament. While Summers was hoping for a good turnout for the inaugural event, he was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response last year. Offering over $10,000 in prize money – the largest amount in Oklahoma noodling competitions – 132 teams from Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Missouri and Iowa competed during the 48-hour tournament.
Summers says this year’s event should be as big as ever with more prize money, new competition rules and two new events. One of the most important rule changes specifies that all residents and nonresidents who enter a team must compete inside Oklahoma’s borders in a state lake or designated water system. “This means no teams can go across the Oklahoma state borders, catch their fish and bring them back across the state line to check in at the tournament,” says Summers.
Another important change involves team numbers and entry fees. Last year’s entry fee was $50 per person, with the winner taking home the top prize for the largest catfish. With new rules in place, a three-man team pays a $150 entry fee. Instead of the top prize going to the largest catfish, the heaviest three-fish stringer will nab the top prize of $5,000. The second place team will win $2,500 cash, while $1,500 will be awarded to the third place finishers. In addition, the 13th place stringer will receive $500. Two new categories have been added, with a $500 bounty going to the team with the largest Big Blue Cat and another $500 bounty going to the team with the largest Big Flathead.
“We want to keep this tournament on a level playing field,” says Summers, “so we will be administering polygraph tests to a random selection of winners. Because of the large prize money involved, we want to make sure no one loses sight of what this tournament is all about. Sometimes, when a lot of money is involved, it can get in the way of morals. We have put these new rules in place to guarantee the continued success of this event.” In addition, a 5K Mud Cat Run is being added to the festivities.Co-sponsored by the Claremore Fire Department, the run will begin and end at the Expo. The entry fee per person is $40. For more information about the obstacle course details and prize money, check out the website, www.BigCatBattle.com. Deadline for entering is 5 p.m. on June 11.
With the popularity of last year’s “Money the Hard Way,” this year’s event will include a competition just for kids. Only 15 two-man (kid) teams will be allowed to enter. Each team will have a choice to vie for $100 by stringing a fish underwater with the fastest time or opting to locate the gar in the tank with a $50 purse clipped to its fin.
A tradeshow, noodling demonstrations, live entertainment, a fish fry, family activities and “Money the Hard Way for the Ladies in the Tank” will also be part of the excitement for all ages.
Go to www.BigCatBattle.com for a registration form, which must be returned with the entry fee by June 11 at 5 p.m., either by mail or in person at the Claremore Expo Center Office. The tournament begins on June 12 at 6 p.m.
Media sponsor is 98.5 KVOO. Title sponsors are Summers Drilling & Blasting Inc. and Nabatak. Presenting sponsor is Visit Claremore. Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs will present the 2nd place check, and GRDA will present the 3rd place check. Additional sponsors include Melton Dodge, John Parks Energy, Bills Marine of Skiatook, Warren Caterpillar, Medley Company, Tulsa Ford New Holland, Stillwater Milling, BancFirst, Pixley’s Lumber, Wild Country Meats, Value News, Claremore Fire Department, Tri-Star Roll-Offs, TLC website designs.net and Cimarron Sod.
Exhibitors have until June 6 to contact the Claremore Expo Center at (918) 342-5357 to participate in this year’s event.
For more information, contact
After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.