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Jun. 25—BEMIDJI — The 20th annual Knights of Columbus Walleye Classic, a competitive, live-release walleye fishing tournament held Saturday, June 12, on Lake Bemidji and Lake Irving, has reported its official results.

This year, 120 two-person teams competed for more than $60,000 in cash and prizes for this 20th anniversary celebration.

First prize winners Kelly and Rylee Curb took home the $20,000 championship and the Legacy prize as the top-ranked father and son team. The Curbs submitted the tournament limit of five fish for a total weight of 20 pounds, a release said.

Cash prizes were awarded to the top 15 teams, with a variety of custom rods and other prizes for select spots in the remaining field. The “Big Fish” prize went to the team of Rick and Justin Whittington for a 7.18 pound fish.

This year saw the return of the classic after a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic. One of the changes that allowed its return was the adoption of a catch-record-release weigh-in format. A traditional tournament requires the fish to be brought to shore for weighing at the end of the day.

This new format uses a phone app to record the fish size and send photographic proof to tournament officials before the fish is immediately released, significantly reducing fish mortality in lakes, the release said.

Over the course of the one-day tournament, anglers registered a total of 587 fish. All fish were returned to the water. A total of 24 fish submitted on the app were disqualified for various reasons, 4% of the total. A fish could be disqualified if tournament judges were not able to verify the size of the fish or other similar errors on the angler-submitted photos.

“After a long, hard day of fishing, our anglers proved that Lakes Bemidji and Irving are a great competitive fishery,” John Marcum, KC Walleye Classic tournament director, said in the release. “This year’s format changes created a new partnership between the tournament and our anglers. We’re proud of the way everyone was able to adjust and figure out the new process, even as it was taking place. Our goal is to deliver Northern Minnesota’s premier one-day charitable walleye tournament, which we accomplished.”

The KC Walleye Classic Planning Committee is already meeting and making plans for next year’s tournament, which will be held June 11, 2022. With the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, the planning committee is looking forward to bringing back the children’s activities and possibly introducing additional entertainment.

The tournament is a continuation of the proud tradition begun as the Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic, which to date has raised over $864,000 for local charities, the release said.

All proceeds from the Walleye Classic will benefit Bemidji Youth League Baseball, Wounded Warrior Guide Service, Bemidji Area Special Olympics, Fishing Has No Boundaries, Let’s Go Fishing, Take A Kid Fishing, Bemidji Boy Scouts, the Lumberjack Youth League Fishing Team, All-Pro Dads, the local fisheries through the Minnesota DNR, and the Knights of Columbus.

For more information, contact tournament director John Marcum at (320) 293-4515 or email him at, or visit

A full list of the top 25 tournament anglers, including total weight and prizes are listed below:


Rylee Curb and Kelly Curb: 20 pounds; $20,000, champion jackets and hats, two diamond custom KC Walleye Classic 20th anniversary rods and plaques


Mike Amble and Paul Schummer: 19.62 pounds; $5,000 and plaques


Brian Hendricks and Luke Hendricks: 19.05 pounds; $3,750 and plaques


Sean Colter and Dave Hernesman: 18.89 pounds; $2,500


Rich Blomberg and Aaron Murphy: 18.19 pounds; $1,750


Jace Peterson and Charlie Peterson: 17.68 pounds; $1,500


Dave Zothman and Jamie Foehrenbacher: 17.53 pounds; $1,250


Lyle Unger and David Olson: 17.29 pounds; $1,125


Dale Groth and Chris Justice: 17.14 pounds; $1,000


Logan Olson and Kiel Browne: 17.12 pounds; $900


Dan Fuller and Scott Fuller: 16.86 pounds; $825


Andy Eichstadt and Larry Eichstadt: 16.53 pounds; $750


Abraham Wolf and Amos Wolf: 16.44 pounds; $650


Bob Wagner and Dan Schultz: 16.29; $550


Tony Wille and Jesse Djernes: 15.80 pounds; $450


Jerry Cleveland and Tim Reiplinger: 15.50 pounds; two diamond custom KC Walleye Classic 20th anniversary rods


Dan Ahlquist and Joe Ahlquist: 15.30 pounds; two diamond custom KC Walleye Classic 20th anniversary rods


Troy Torgerson and Scott Lewis: 15.16 pounds


Duane Peterson and Travis Peterson: 15.13 pounds


Kelly Juelson and Michael Juelson: 14.87 pounds; $1,000


Bob Bateman and Bryan Hanson: 14.70 pounds


Mitch Feierabend and Craig Feierabend: 14.67 pounds


Owen Seitz and Jay Seitz: 14.53 pounds


Steve Weickert and Joe Balcer: 14.30 pounds; two Miller Lite prize packs


Mike Holter and Mitch Holter: 14.10 pounds

Other prize winners include:

27. Jason Kupcho and Carl Adams: 13.95 pounds; two diamond custom KC Walleye Classic 20th anniversary rods

33. Steve Boraas and Dean Grochow: 13.42 pounds; two diamond custom KC Walleye Classic 20th anniversary rods

35. Aaron Templin and Paul Thorne: 13.34 pounds; two youth fishing packs

44. Jack Greengo and Gavin Greengo: 12.58 pounds; two diamond custom KC Walleye Classic 20th anniversary rods

50. Tyler Eide and Kelvin Hughs: 11.64 pounds; Milwaukee M12 impact wrench/compact inflator prize packs

52. Rick Whittington and Justin Whittington: 11.56 pounds; Big Fish Award, $1,000 and rod

57. Pat Winkler and Doug Weatherly: 10.80 pounds; two diamond custom KC Walleye Classic 20th anniversary rods

A complete list of tournament rankings can be viewed on the KC Walleye Classic’s official website.