Destin Fishing Rodeo T-shirts: 'It's just a tradition'

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

When it comes to the Destin Fishing Rodeo, it’s all about tradition. 

This year the Rodeo will be celebrating 74 years in October of bringing in fish, wowing people in the stands with their catches and taking home memorabilia to commemorate the hometown event. 

And part of that tradition is buying a Destin Rodeo T-shirt. 

Destin Fishing Rodeo Executive Director Helen Donaldson holds up one of the new Rodeo shirts, tagged the "sign" shirt. It has signs listing a lot of the Destin fishing spots such as Mingo Ridge, The Spur and the Bridge Rubble.

“They are already selling out the door,” said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Destin Fishing Rodeo. 

From 2021:Destin Fishing Rodeo merchandise is a 'have to,' but going quickly

From 2020:Destin Fishing Rodeo merchandise is a hot-ticket item in October

In the last few weeks, shipment upon shipment of shirts have been coming into the Rodeo office and on July 8, the shirts went on sale online on the Rodeo website at 

The Destin Fishing Rodeo has different designs for this year's 74th event. Shirts can be purchased online now.

Donaldson said she has already shipped shirts as far away as Alaska. 

More:Ella Kathryn Campbell is Miss Destin 2022; will reign over the 74th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo

More:Destin Fishing Rodeo was a "family tradition" for Kelly O'Connor, Miss Destin 1982

So why are Rodeo shirts so popular? 

“The Rodeo is the oldest tradition in Destin, and whether you have lived here all of your life or if you are just coming, everyone wants to be a part of the oldest tradition – and that’s the Rodeo,” Donaldson said. 

Donaldson said she runs into people all the time talking about a shirt they have from 30 or 40 years ago. 

Janie Rose, a Destin Fishing Rodeo volunteer, was busy at the Rodeo office earlier this week helping to tag and fold shirts.

“People love these shirts … and they love collecting them,” she said. 

“I know several people who have had a quilt made out of their shirts,” Donaldson added. 

Getting that Rodeo shirt, “it’s just a tradition,” she said. 

And with a town as new as Destin, “There’s not a whole lot of tradition. The Rodeo is the tradition and everybody likes something to commemorate it with. And this year they are going to love it,” she said referring to the new shirt designs. 

Right now, the Rodeo has five designs for shirts. 

“We haven’t decided which design will be the traditional Rodeo design, because none of them are traditional,” she said. 

The shelves in the Destin Fishing Rodeo are already filling up with the new shirts.

From 2019:All wrapped up in Rodeo wear

The five shirts include the “three-fish” shirt, which features a king mackerel, dolphin and sailfish on the back. 

Next is the “sign” design shirt, which points to all the great fishing spots such as the Spur, Bridge Rubble, and Southwest Edge to name a few. 

“Anyone who fishes the Gulf waters in Destin, they’ll know where they are,” Donaldson said. 

Another new design is the “tropical” design. 

The Destin Fishing Rodeo shirts come in several different colors, sizes and designs.

“Some people say it looks like Hawaii, but no, we have palm trees and hibiscus here too. It’s a really pretty shirt and I have had tons of people say they like the design,” Donaldson said. 

Then there is the “tuna” shirt, which features a single blackfin tuna on the back. 

And then the “Rodeo diamond” logo design shirt. 

“So, we’ve got something for everybody,” Donaldson said. 

The shirts come in all colors under the rainbow and are available in short and long sleeved. Sweatshirts are also available to order online.

Hats, visors and hoodies will be next on the list to arrive.