In just a few weeks, the 70th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo will kick off.
Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, said they’re really looking forward to this year’s event.
“It’s gonna be fun,” Donaldson said. “It’s our 70th year so we’re gonna give some good prizes for things that deal with the number 70, like the 70th fish weighed and the first fish that weighs 70 pounds.”
Established in 1948, the Destin Fishing Rodeo has been a yearly tradition that always draws a huge crowd between Oct. 1-31.
“Sometimes, we have anywhere form 200-900 people on the dock all during the month,” Donaldson said.
So far, Donaldson estimates about 150 boats that have already registered for the Rodeo. Boats and anglers must be registered at least one day before they are allowed to weigh a fish in at the Rodeo, so Donaldson said you can register all the way up until Oct. 30.
And the Rodeo not just for charter or private boats, there are divisions for pier or bridge fishing, jetty fishing, surf and shoreline fishing, kayak fishing and paddleboard fishing.
If you’re not a fisherman, you can still join in the fun.
“The Rodeo is a spectator sport, it’s entertaining,” Donaldson said.
There will be giveaways, live entertainment provided by AJ’s, fireworks to kick off and end each day and archery and shooting exhibits from Bass Pro Shops.
But the weigh-ins are the best part, according to Donaldson.
“This is the first year in quite a while we’ve had amberjacks in the Rodeo and it’s always fun to see those big fish hung up,” she said.
On Sept. 28, the Rodeo will host its Reel Local Kick-Off Party at 6 p.m. at A.J.'s featuring a wagon boat parade, a cookout and other family activities.
Donaldson said she expects the weekend of the Destin Seafood Festival to be especially crazy.
“It’s kind’ve a circus, but it’s a fun circus,” she said.