Destin Fishing Rodeo merchandise is a hot-ticket item in October
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
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.
"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.
"We still have something in every size, but it may not be what you want," Donaldson said.
Merchandise can be ordered online at destinfishingrodeo.org 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.