Rodeo T-shirts roll in while book is ready to roll out

Tina Harbuck
Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, folds one of the many Rodeo T-shirts now available for purchase. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]

Locals have them, tourists want them.

“I challenge anyone to walk around in the harbor district of Destin and not see three or four, at least, (Destin) Rodeo T-shirts being worn on any given day,” said Destin Fishing Rodeo Executive Director Helen Donaldson.

“Tourists want them. You’ve got to have it … it’s what the locals wear.”

The Destin Fishing Rodeo, Destin’s longest running tradition, will be celebrating its 71st year this October. During the month-long fishing tournament more than 35,000 anglers will compete for cash and prizes for hauling in the largest fish. The Rodeo has a division for most every fish eligible by law to catch with weigh-ins daily on the docks located behind AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.

But in the meantime, the 2019 edition of the Rodeo T-shirts have started to roll in.

“We’ve got them inventoried, they’re for sale but not on the website yet,” she said.

However, if you were to walk into the Rodeo office, located next to the Destin Community Center, shirts are available for purchase. Already in stock are long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts in traditional design as well as the mahi-mahi design. Short sleeves start at $25 and long sleeves at $30. The cost of the Dri-Fit shirts as well as sizes 2XL and up cost more.

Donaldson will be ordering more in the weeks to come, in addition to a couple of different designs and various colors.

“So far we haven’t done a whole lot different, but the fall is coming,” she said.

Rodeo merchandise will include hats, visors and some sort of cup as well as a hoodies, sweatshirts, rain jackets and some kind of ladies wear.

“There are all sorts of products out there we’re looking at,” she said.

As a matter of fact, Donaldson said she would love to hear from the public.

“If people have ideas as to what the Rodeo should sell … I think that would be fun,” she said.

Donaldson will not place the final order for Rodeo merchandise until the middle of August. Email her your ideas at

Between unpacking boxes and folding shirts, Donaldson has also been working on the Rodeo guide book. In the next few days, the book, which lists registered boats for the Rodeo as well as rules for the tournament and upcoming events in October, will be sent to the printer.

“It will be on the streets before the 4th of July,” she said.

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