Ella Kathryn Campbell makes 'debut' as Miss Destin 2022 before fishing rodeo begins

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

There were plenty of smiles and photos snapped at the annual Meet Miss Destin event at Harbor Docks Restaurant on Destin harbor Thursday evening. 

Everyone wanted to have their photo taken with the young lady wearing the sash and crown, Ella Kathryn Campbell. 

"It was a lovely event. Ella Kathryn was there and met lots of Rodeo volunteers and supporters in preparation for her big debut as Miss Destin reigning over the 74th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo," said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the rodeo. 

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

Tim McDonald along with Capt. Mike Eller at right had their photos taken with Miss Destin 2022 Ella Kathryn Campbell. Eller has his photo taken annually with the new Miss Destin.

Although Miss Destin's primary function is to represent the Destin Fishing Rodeo at weigh-ins every day during October, it's more than that. She serves as a public figure throughout the year, representing Destin at many functions such as the Christmas Parade and Big Truck Day to name a few. 

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Alena Yahne, left, and Maggie Bowen are little Miss Destins in waiting. They were happy to have their photo taken with Miss Destin 2022 Ella Kathryn Campbell.

But first on the list is the Rodeo. 

"I'm looking forward to the kickoff the most. I heard it's going to be super packed, super fun and a little stressful. But I'm excited to take it on," Campbell said. 

The rodeo kickoff party is Sept. 30 at AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar. The captains can start registering at 4 p.m., but the party outside begins at 6 p.m., including a Kids' Wagon Parade along the harbor front. 

There will be a live band, the Luke Langford Band, on the Jumbotron Stage at AJ's with fireworks over the harbor at 9 p.m. 

About 50 people came out Thursday evening for the Meet Miss Destin event on Destin harbor. Miss Destin 2022 Ella Kathryn Campbell chats with Rachel Huff and others at the event held at Harbor Docks.

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Campbell, the daughter of Julie and Jimbo Campbell of Destin, is a senior at Fort Walton Beach High School, where she is involved with Viking Ladies and volunteers at the elementary school. 

Campbell spent four weeks over the summer at horse camp, where she served as a camp counselor. 

"It was amazing, but it was nice to come home and hang out with my friends and family," she said. 

Destin Fishing Rodeo Chairman Chris Schofield poses for a photo along with Miss Destin 2022 Ella Kathryn Campbell.

But now she is ready to serve at the 74th annual Rodeo, which begins Oct. 1. 

"I plan to be there all day. ... It's going to be a long day," she said. 

The rodeo scales, on the barge behind AJ's, open at 10 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. However, if boats are in line at 7 p.m., the scales will remain open. 

Rodeo volunteer Gary Shepherd was all smiles as he had his photo taken with Miss Destin 2022 Ella Kathryn Campbell.

"I want to learn. I know the whole thing is about the fishing, but I want to be involved in gutting the fish, knowing the weight of the fish, what the ideal weight is, know who the winners are … I'm excited to learn everything," Campbell said. 

"I'm excited … a little nervous, but very excited," she said.