Miss Destin Lauren Adams juggles school, work and fish, and loves every minute of it
For Miss Destin Lauren Adams, it's all about representing Destin, and she does it well.
"Lauren is a natural at being Miss Destin," said Destin Fishing Rodeo Executive Director Helen Donaldson.
Miss Destin's primary job is to serve at the Rodeo throughout October and as an ambassador of sorts throughout the rest of the year. During the Rodeo, she does everything from drag fish to the scales, take photos with children and adults, and help with the leaderboards to whatever else might come up.
So far, Adams hasn't shied away from any of the tasks as Miss Destin.
"She's been hoisting fish and doesn't mind getting her hands dirty and has the most beautiful smile when she is getting her photo taken with the anglers," Donaldson said.
And Adams is loving every minute of it.
"The Rodeo has been a crazy amount of fun," Adams said. "It's everything I imagined and more. I love meeting all the anglers that come from all over and I love showing the kids and even the adults all the amazing fish that are being brought in."
The Destin Fishing Rodeo draws anglers from all over the United States to vie for a spot on the leaderboard. The Rodeo has had anglers from Texas, Illinois, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, Iowa, Tennessee and Louisiana crack the leaderboard so far this year.
"The thing I like best about being Miss Destin is being able to engage with people from all over. I love being able to talk about my hometown and being a part of such an amazing event that brings everyone to what I’m able to call my home," Adams said.
But it's not all fun and games for Miss Destin. She does have to a juggle a few things such as school, work and keeping that crown on securely while posing for photos.
"The hardest thing so far has been making sure the crown is secure and lifting up those big fish to put on the scale, and sometimes the sash gets a little dirty because of it," she said.
The largest fish she has had to hoist up on the scales thus far has been a 218-pound mako shark, but she had help from Rodeo volunteer Mark Luciani.
As for school, Adams attends Northwest Florida State College in Niceville a couple days of week and the rest of her classes are online.
In addition to school, she also works a couple of mornings at Legendary Marina at the foot of the Destin bridge.
"Sometimes I’m able to see a few boats leave in the morning that I’ll see later that afternoon at the docks," she said.
At close of the day Sunday, the Rodeo had weighed in more than 800 fish and handed out dozens of certificates to young anglers for their catches.
"The best thing I’ve witnessed so far is the kids catching those huge fish and being so excited to get their new rod. And my second thing is when the big fish come in and they are able to place and seeing the excitement in the angler's face as well as the crowd cheering them on," she said.
"There’s a list of things that I’ll take away from this reign of being Miss Destin, but to be short and sweet ... I’ll take away the blessing that it is to live in this town. We have such a great community and such a beautiful place to live. And the fact that I get to represent it, I will forever be grateful for," Adams said.
As for those who would like to be a future Miss Destin, Adams gives this advice.
"Don’t be afraid to touch the fish, don’t be afraid to get dirty. Get out and go witness what our home is all about. Get involved in your community, you won’t regret it. Represent your town with pride without even a title," she said.