Ready to Rodeo: Kickoff party is Sept. 30 at AJ's

Tina Harbuck
It won't be long before Rodeo weighmaster Bruce Cheves will hoisting fish onto the scales behind AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar. The scales will be open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. throughout October.

It’s just a matter of days before the 67th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo will be hitting the water.

But before the month-long October fishing rodeo begins, there are a few parties you will not want to miss.

The Rock the Dock Kick Off Party is scheduled for 6 p.m., Sept. 30 at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.

“We’re excited about the kickoff and we’re going to have a great band, the Modern Eldorados,” said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo.

The Modern Eldorados have evolved a sound that taps deep into the roots of traditional country, western swing and the rockabilly style.

“It’s going to be a fun night, now that we’ve started having it on the day before the Rodeo … it truly is a kickoff because everybody goes fishing the next morning,” Donaldson said. “It’s just going to be a great way to kick off the Rodeo.”

“And the food is always great at AJ’s,” she added.

Prior to the party, the Captain and Mate’s meeting will begin at 4 p.m. at AJ’s. Boat captains can still register and pick up their captains packages at the event. Also any rule changes will be announced and discussed at this important meeting.

Then stick around for the Rock the Dock Kick Off at 6 p.m.

But even before the Kick Off, check off Sept. 24 on your calendars.

At 6 p.m., Sept. 24, the Meet Miss Destin at the Inn on Destin Harbor will take place. Folks will get a chance to come and meet Miss Alyssa Bettinger, Miss Destin 2015. Captains, crew, anglers and volunteers are encouraged to come by and wish her well.

Bettinger, who is a junior at Fort Walton Beach High School, will be on the Rodeo barge every afternoon to greet anglers and pose for photographs, serving as the ambassador for Destin as well as the Rodeo.

The Rodeo, Destin’s longest running tradition, begins Oct. and goes 31 days with anglers from all over the United State trying their luck at hauling in the big one.

“It’s going to be great … lets just do this,” Donaldson said.

•Meet Miss Destin, Alyssa Bettinger, event is 6 p.m., Sept. 24 at the Inn on Destin Harbor.

•Destin 5K Rodeo Run is Oct. 4 at Clement Taylor Park.

•Shark Saturdays is every Saturday during October.

•Rodeo Kid’s Kick-Off and Wagon Boat Parade, 2-4 p.m., Oct. 16.

•Rootin Tootin Rodeo Round-Up, 8-11 a.m., Oct. 17 at the Okaloosa Island Pier.

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