Destin Fishing Rodeo holds general meeting and elects new directors

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

About 40 people turned out for the Destin Fishing Rodeo general meeting on Thursday night at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar on Destin harbor. 

The meeting is held annually to give people in the community a chance to become part of Destin’s oldest tradition. The Rodeo, a month-long fishing tournament that draws thousands to the area, will be celebrating 73 years this October. 

Okaloosa County Commissioner Mel Ponder, right, stopped by the Destin Fishing Rodeo general meeting Thursday evening to pay his membership dues to Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Rodeo.

“We had a great Rodeo … we were completely surprised by it,” Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Rodeo, told those gathered at AJ’s. 

“We sold every T-shirt we ordered, three times. We weighed more than 1,100 fish and had lots of boats registered. 

“Don’t tell anybody but we had a great Rodeo for a pandemic,” she said. 

More:It's a wrap for the 72nd annual Destin Fishing Rodeo

“Hopefully this year, things will be more open and we can come back to having a seafood festival on the weekend … and have a great Rodeo again next year,” Donaldson said. 

AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar served up sliders and salad for the Destin Fishing Rodeo general meeting Thursday evening. AJ's is the host site for the annual Rodeo in October.

Usually, the Destin Seafood Festival is held the first weekend of October, but organizers decided not to have the event due to the pandemic and the close quarters for all the vendors for the three-day festival. 

“Somehow we dodged a bullet,” Donaldson said, noting they had no reports of COVID-19 spreading among Rodeo organizers and attendees. 

More:FISH FLASH: Big fish hit the scales on final day of the Destin Fishing Rodeo

Those in attendance at the general meeting got the chance to sign up for various committees that help to make the Rodeo a success, such as the rules and awards committee, judges committee and sponsorship committee. 

About 40 people attended Thursday's Destin Fishing Rodeo general meeting at AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar. Pictured from left are Rodeo volunteer Ann White, Helen Donaldson and Miss Destin 2020 Lauren Adams.

The Rodeo is offering corporate memberships for $75. They will have a bigger profile in the Rodeo booklet. 

More:Volunteer spotlight: Mark Luciani mans the 'big board' at Rodeo

“It’s a real inexpensive way for your business to be part of the Rodeo,” Donaldson said. 

Also, at the meeting the new board members were announced. John Brashears and Chris Schofield were re-elected and Mark Luciani was elected. Eric Thrasher will serve as chairman for the 73rd annual event. 

Miss Destin 2020 Lauren Adams takes a photograph with new Rodeo board of director Mark Luciani. Chris Schofield and John Brashears, not pictured, were re-elected to the board.

Donaldson also announced that there will be a send-off reception for Miss Destin Lauren Adams in April. The “meet Miss Destin” event in September was canceled due to the pandemic. The time and date for the reception will be announced later. 

If you didn’t get the chance to attend the general meeting on Thursday, you can still become a member of the Rodeo by contacting Donaldson at 850-837-6734.