Rodeo ready to ride out Karen: 'Scaled back' seafood celebration set for Saturday

Tina Harbuck

Tropical Storm Karen may be stirring up the Gulf of Mexico, but it's not stopping the 65th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

On Friday morning, more than a dozen boats were out trying to catch fish to get on the leaderboard.

However, with the storm approaching, local captains are expecting high seas and many have even canceled trips until Monday.

"It was rough and getting rougher," said Capt. Scott Robson of the Phoenix while weighing in fish Thursday afternoon. "They are talking 10- to 13-footers. I've got trips, but I may not go."

Capt. Casey Weldon of the Fish N Fool agreed. "Past 25 miles it gets ugly. I've got trips, but I don't think we will be able to go."

Despite predictions of rough weather to come, "We're still rocking and rolling," said Helen Donaldson executive director of the Rodeo.

The Rodeo scales will be open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the docks behind AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar.

And with the cancelation of the 35th annual Destin Seafood Festival, the Rodeo along with AJ's and others are trying to make the best of the situation with a scaled back party along the harbor.

Donaldson said "we're trying to pull together some of the local vendors" that were scheduled to participate in the Seafood Festival and have them set up booths in the Rodeo plaza area near the merchandise trailer and around AJ's.

About six to seven artists have committed to coming out and booths selling festival T-shirts and posters, jewelry and barbeque may also be on hand. Contact 502-3752 or if you’d like to participate as a vendor.

"Our plans for this weekend is to make sure the celebration is still on,” said AJ’s Tracy McCraw, noting that Chris Alvarado, Black Eyed Blonde and Ash Bowers are still set to play. “We will have the same musical guests performing, the same drink specials and food service and the games will be on our televisions. Most importantly, the Rodeo will still be weighing fish, telling stories and giving away free stuff.”

"Plan to come down and check us out," Donaldson added. "As long as the weather doesn't run us out — we'll have some stuff to do."

Rodeo Run is on

The Rodeo Run 5K is a go — no matter what.

"Even if it rains we're going to have fun, we can run in the rain," said race director Kimmy Meyers.

As of Thursday evening, at least 125 people had registered for the run. However, there is still time to make the race. The 5K starts at 8 a.m., and registration begins at 7:30 a.m. if you haven't registered yet.

The race will start and finish at Clement Taylor Park on Calhoun Avenue with an after party and awards at AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar.

Here is the full musical lineup at AJ’s

Friday October 4th

12pm-4pm Chris Alvarado

4pm-8pm Amberjacks

9:30pm-2am MoJiles

DJ Disciple

Saturday October 5th

10am-2pm Jacob Mohr

2pm-6pm Amberjacks

6pm-9pm Ash Bowers

9:30pm-2am MoJiles

DJ Angel

Sunday October 6th

10am-2pm Chris Alvarado

3pm-6pm Ash Bowers

7pm-till Black Eyed Blonde


All 3 nights Ronnie Satterfield will be performing on the Tiki Village stage at 7pm