Destin Fishing Rodeo merchandise is a hot-ticket item in October

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

When it comes to the Destin Fishing Rodeo, fishing takes top billing but running a close second is Rodeo wear.

Whether it's a T-shirt, sweatshirt, cap or even a mask, if it has a Rodeo logo on it — it sells.

"We had felt like we had placed a large enough order for a pandemic, but evidently we did not," said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Rodeo.

More:5 things to know about the 2020 Destin Fishing Rodeo and surrounding events

"We've already reordered and got that in on Friday and here we are on Sunday afternoon and we are almost out of everything we reordered," Donaldson said.

The Destin Fishing Rodeo is Destin's longest running tradition and is celebrating its 72nd year. Throughout October, anglers have the chance to catch anything from a speckled trout to a shark for a spot on the leaderboard.

More:FWB angler weighs in first fish in 72nd Destin Fishing Rodeo

More:Destin Fishing Rodeo off to big start with big fish and five shark

But as for Rodeo wear, it's a hot-ticket item.

Since Oct. 1, the Rodeo has sold 2,419 pieces of merchandise. The majority of sales has been the traditional shirt, 710 short-sleeve T-shirts and 639 long-sleeve shirts, that bears this year's 2020 logo.

Destin Fishing Rodeo volunteer Ann White holds up a traditional design T-shirt for 2020. The Island Reef color has been the hot-ticket item this October.

"We had a better sales weekend the first weekend of the Rodeo, without a seafood festival, than we had with a seafood festival the last two years," Donaldson said.

The Destin Seafood Festival usually draws thousands to the harbor front the first weekend of October, overlapping with the Rodeo. This year, however, the festival was canceled because of the pandemic.

Related:Volunteer Spotlight: Becky Mc says Rodeo is a "great place to be"

Nevertheless sales were up "by a significant amount," Donaldson said.

Ann White, who serves on the advisory board for the Rodeo and oversees the merchandise trailer, said sales were up "because we weren't in competition and there's been a lot of people in town."

But not to fret, T-shirts, visors and caps are still available.

The Rodeo merchandise trailer is located next to AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar on Destin harbor is open daily from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

"We still have merchandise but we're out of the larger sizes," Donaldson said. "I guess everybody put on their COVID 15, and I didn't count on that."

Donaldson said in the past, large and extra-large sizes always went first. This year, folks have been purchasing more 2X and 3X shirts.

Although it may look like there is still a lot of stock left in the Destin Fishing Rodeo merchandise trailer, shirts are selling left and right. Rodeo volunteer Ann White shows off the top-color shirt for sales this year.

"We still have something in every size, but it may not be what you want," Donaldson said.

Merchandise can be ordered online at or by visiting the trailer located near AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar on the harbor.

"It has been a good year. It's been a good year for boat registrations, been a good year for sales, just really been a good year, despite the pandemic," Donaldson said.