If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, now is your chance to join forces with Destin’s longest running tradition.

The annual Membership Meeting for the 71st Rodeo is set for 5 p.m. Feb. 7 at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.

The Rodeo is a volunteer-based non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote recreational fishing within Destin, strengthen the claim of “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” and to foster good sportsmanship and safe fishing among the general public by providing an organized competition for recreational fishermen, according to a news release.

The fishing Rodeo is held every October with more than 35,000 anglers from all over the United States participating in the 31-day tournament.

Who can become a member?

“Every type of person is qualified to be a Rodeo member,” said Rodeo executive director Helen Donaldson. “You don’t have to be a fisherman … just the desire to help the 71-year-old community event thrive and succeed for another 71 years.

“The Rodeo depends on its members to help make sure that our rules and awards serve all of the anglers in the tournament, to serve as volunteer Rodeo judges and to be ambassadors for the Rodeo to the general public. The Rodeo is a volunteer-based organization and could not continue without the help and service of our members,” Donaldson added.

Memberships are available for $25 for individual members and $35 for a family membership. Corporate memberships are available for $75. People can join online at destinfishingrodeo.org, by phone at 837-6734, or by mail to Destin Fishing Rodeo, Inc., P.O. Box 296, Destin, Florida 32540. Or you can join at the general meeting on Feb. 7.

The meeting is open to all members, new and existing. Complimentary heavy hors d’oeuvres and non-alcoholic beverages will be served. A cash bar will be available.

Also as part of the meeting, directors for the 2019 Rodeo will be elected and members will get a chance to sign up for the various committees such as rules and awards, judges and the Miss Destin pageant.

Three new directors will be elected at the annual meeting. This year’s slate of candidates includes long-time Rodeo volunteers, participants and captains. They are Tim Broom of Half Hitch Tackle, Capt. Allen Staples of charter boat 100 Proof, and Capt. Trey Windes of charter boat Outta Line.

There will be write-in spaces available for additional nominations. Voting is limited to members in good standing.

“Come join us to help plot our course for 2019,” Donaldson said.