Miss Destin loving her rodeo reign

Annie Blanks | 315-4450 | @DestinLogAnnie | ablanks@thedestinlog.com
Miss Destin 2016 Sydney Curry poses on the weigh-in barge on the Destin Harbor on Monday afternoon. The 17-year-old Fort Walton Beach High School senior has dreamed of being Miss Destin her entire life. ANNIE BLANKS/The Destin Log

Most pageant queens aren’t as comfortable around fish slime as Sydney Curry.

Then again, most pageant queens’ job descriptions don’t include posing with hundreds of fish each day on a barge in front of a large crowd. But Miss Destin 2016 takes it in stride.

“I’ll touch the fish. They’re not going to hurt me, they’re dead,” Curry said. “People always ask me, ‘Are you sure you want to touch the fish?’ And I say, ‘It doesn’t bother me!’”

Monday afternoon was a slow day at the 68th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo compared to this past weekend. Curry posed with a total of 241 fish between Saturday and Sunday, the rodeo’s kickoff weekend. Monday, however, she had some time to get in her Advanced Placement homework as she sat on the barge in between weigh-ins.

The Fort Walton Beach High School senior has to stay on top of her homework. She plans to attend the University of Florida next fall and major in elementary education. When she’s not posing with fish or doing her homework, she dances on the dance team.

The month of October, however, is all about the Rodeo. Curry is on the barge every day after school and dance practice and every weekend. The 17-year-old Destin native is basking in each day, having dreamed of being Miss Destin her entire life.

“I knew I’ve always wanted to be Miss Destin, because I’ve looked up to all of the other Miss Destins my whole life,” Curry said. “So this year, I decided to give it a shot.

“I was not expecting (to win the pageant) at all,” she added. “I was shocked. I froze when they called my name."

Helen Donaldson, the executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo, said Curry was a natural as Miss Destin.

"She looks like she's really enjoying herself," Donaldson said. " She's dreamed of being Miss Destin her whole life and she's done it. You can tell she's really excited.

Curry wowed the judges at the Miss Destin pageant in April with her down-to-earth attitude, poise and friendliness. Her smiling demeanor fares well on the weigh-in barge as she poses with every single fish that is weighed.

“I smile all the time anyways,” she said.

Curry’s mom, Wanda Curry, said her daughter’s reign as Miss Destin is a dream come true.

“For me, one of the best parts is seeing her achieve something she’s always wanted,” Wanda said. “She’s the perfect fit. She’s just a normal, regular Destin girl. She just loves life.”

Curry said one of the best parts of her job is seeing all the mini anglers that come in with their catches.

“I love meeting all of the little kids. They are so sweet,” she said. “I love that they look up to me like I used to look up to other people. I’ve loved every bit (of being Miss Destin). It’s definitely a blessing.”