King Kat Outdoor Expo, catfishing tournament to run Friday and Saturday

The worlds of fishing, hunting, archery and more will be represented in Owensboro this weekend, with the inaugural King Kat Outdoor Expo and catfishing tournament on Friday and Saturday at the Owensboro Convention Center and along the Ohio River.

The debut event, which will be put on in partnership with the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau and sponsored by sporting goods retailer Bass Pro Shops, will include a free expo showcasing a variety of outdoor sporting vendors, and a live tournament weigh-in.

The event host is Youngstown, Ohio-based company King Kat Tournament Trail. The organization is an established catfish tournament trail with tourney sites in different markets, to help promote sponsors’ products and to allow local anglers in each district the opportunity to compete on a “truly national trail,” according to the King Kat’s official website.

Robert “Bob” Denen, co-owner of the King Kat, said the company was formerly known as Cabela’s King Kat for about 15 to 18 years before he and his fellow owners bought it three years ago.

“We rebranded it, started to look at some different cities and some different waterways and have worked extremely hard to become one of the largest national trails in the nation,” Denen said. “... I think we have about 23 stops this year across the country all the way from Louisiana, to northern Ohio, all the way down to Alabama and all the way over to the east coast to James River ….

“The whole mindset is that we develop different waters to do what we consider to be jumbo catfish, or trophy-sized catfish.”

Denen said the expo came about some time ago, while the company was looking to develop and expand its reach while also deciding to hold one of the organization’s tournaments on the Ohio River.

“Years ago, they used to run what used to be called ‘Monsters on the Ohio,’ (which) was very successful in (the) area,” Denen said. “... (With) it being a few years since that happened, we just felt like it was time to kind of revive that area.”

Denen said the event will also integrate Ohio-based television production company Replay Media Group, which will shoot footage at the event for the television network Pursuit Channel, which is geared toward fishing, hunting, shooting and outdoor recreation, to be aired in 2025.

The catfishing tournament on the Ohio River can have up to three adults per team and an unlimited amount of children, Denen said.

Payout, based on 75 boats, is $10,200 for first place, $5,000 for second place, $2,200 for third place. Payout will also be available for those that place fourth through eighth — starting at $1,200 and ending at $400.

The weigh-in for the tournament will also take place in front of a crowd at the convention center on both days.

Denen said the stop in Owensboro is part of the company’s five-year plan of developing “event locations.”

“... We want to not just have anglers come in, but we want the city to be very involved in what we’re doing,” he said. “This year was the year that we were starting the events. … We’re going to try and develop events … at least 10 times a year and do different things where the whole city can be involved with what’s going on.”

Particularly, Denen said the hope with these types of events is to educate the community about catfish.

“A lot of people think that catfish is junk, or trash, fish,” he said, “but these jumbo fish that these guys catch are 30-40 years old and they have survived all kinds of stuff; so until you catch a 50-pound blue or 40-pound flathead, no one really understands the force and the power that’s behind those fish.”

The weekend will also include an appearance by Justin Martin — known simply as Martin — the general manager of Louisiana-based hunting and outdoor recreation company Duck Commander, who experienced mainstream attention for his appearances on the hit A&E reality series “Duck Dynasty.” Martin will appear from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the convention center.

There will also be a free King Kids youth fishing tournament held from 9-11 a.m. Saturday at Yellow Creek Park.

King Kat will give away 500 fishing poles and 500 tackle boxes while supplies last, with one item per person (kid’s choice). Limited bait will be available at the park.

Additionally, three $1,000 scholarships will be awarded later in the day at the convention center. The winners must arrive at the assigned time to receive the awards and recognition.

“We’re going to try to get the word out that fishing’s fun and see if we can get anybody hooked on getting these big catfish,” Denen said.

Registration is open at and will be available in-person starting at 4 p.m. today, May 2, at the convention center. A mandatory captain’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m.

For more information about the expo and tournament, visit or