Much to the surprise of the board of directors, the Destin Fishing Rodeo has been named a recipient of a Gulf Seafood and Promotional Fund Grant to the tune of $500,000.
"It's still all up in the air right now," said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo. "I never really thought we would get it."
At the end of March, the rodeo applied for the grant and last week they were notified a grant has been awarded.
As part of the Settlement Agreement with BP over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill scare of 2010, a $57 million fund, the Gulf Tourism and Seafood Promotional Fund, was established to promote tourism and the seafood industries in Gulf Coast areas impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Incident.
The rodeo appears poised to get a slice of that pie.
"We've got confirmation, but no contract," said rodeo board chairman John Brashears. And without a contract, the rodeo is unsure of what stipulations will be put on how the money is spent.
"This is huge and we need to spend the money as close as to how we wrote the grant," Brashears said.
The grant was written in such a fashion to put monies toward advertising such as print, broadcast, online and social media as well as putting money back into the community through such avenues as the Miss Destin Pageant, Destin Seafood Festival and Destin Fishing and History Museum.
"I think we should be good stewards of it for the community," said board member Jim Green.
Brashears and others on the board agreed.
"We need to spend it wisely, responsibly and in such a fashion that we get the most sustainability," Brashears said.
"It's awesome that we got it, but it's a little intimidating," Donaldson said.
The rodeo should receive the contract in the next few days with the particulars as to when and how the money can be spent.