If the fish don't bite, the chili might
The heat was on Saturday afternoon for the second day of Cats Incredible, on the Red River and in LaFave Park in East Grand Forks. The catfish bite was reportedly light for the 150 teams that cast off in the early morning to begin the two-day fis...
The heat was on Saturday afternoon for the second day of Cats Incredible, on the Red River and in LaFave Park in East Grand Forks.
The catfish bite was reportedly light for the 150 teams that cast off in the early morning to begin the two-day fishing contest. Back on shore, 18 teams were putting that extra "bite" in their chili for the 11th annual Beans on the Bank Chili Challenge,
sponsored by Hugo's and Grand Forks Young Professionals.
Anglers, cooks and attendees were blanketed in blue sky and bright sunshine with temperatures pushing toward 87 degrees by mid-afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
"Whew," said Barry Wilfahrt, president of The Chamber of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks. "This is one of those events where attendance is really affected by weather, and it's up from last year."
Wilfahrt said he heard early-afternoon reports of catfish biting on frogs. The river current was noticeably strong.
"At 4 a.m. this morning when we were putting boats on, the river was up about six inches," Wilfahrt said. "We've had a couple catfish weighing in at 19 or 20 pounds."
Catfish was by no means the secret ingredient in the Chili Challenge, but teams were adding a little something to make theirs sweeter, hotter or just taste different. Detectable flavors included black olives, breakfast sausage and brown sugar. The Whitey's team laid out a cactus leaf on their cutting board.
The judges' awarded first place to a team of 10 people from H & R Block that used sweet corn.
"The key is working with a good group of people," said Sharon Peterson, head cook.
Giuseppe's earned second from the judges and Tavern United third.
The people's choice for best-tasting was a tie between the Single Guy from Warroad, Minn., and Happy Harry's Chili Con Harry, served with optional choices of hot sauce.
The runaway winner for hottest went to Broken Eagle License, a team of UND engineering students who warned tasters that it would be sweet on the tongue, but fiery going down -- a concoction they named Sunnyvale. Their prizes included a symbolic red-painted toilet seat.
The tournament is scheduled to conclude at 6 p.m. Sunday when the fishing tournament awards will be presented. After the first day, the team of Jayson Deziel and Dave Thompson of Grand Forks led with five fish totaling 44.47 pounds.
Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .