Destin Rodeo holds general meeting, elects new board members

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log
AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar put out a spread of slidders and salad for the Destin Fishing Rodeo's general meeting.

The deluge of rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the 80-plus people who came out for the first gathering for the 75th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar.

The monthlong fishing tournament that draws thousands to Destin from all over the United States doesn’t happen until October, but plans are already in the works to make it a memorable 75th

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“We had close to 100 people come and sign up for committees, elect new directors and enjoy the great camaraderie that this 75-year-old traditional event brings,” said Helen Donaldson, executive director of the Rodeo. 

Nearly 100 people came out for the general meeting of the Destin Fishing Rodeo on Feb. 9 at AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar.

AJ’s, host for the October fishing Rodeo, served up BBQ sliders and salad for the folks who came out for the Rodeo’s General Meeting on Feb. 9. The meeting gives people in the community a chance to become members and be involved in the Rodeo.  

“We’ve got some really good ideas,” Rodeo chairman Mark Luciani told the crowd. The Rodeo is looking to do some raffles and even weekly raffles during the fishing tournament. 

Mark Luciani is chairman for the 75th annual Destin Fishing Rodeo.

However, Luciani said, “if you’ve got any suggestions, let us hear from you.” 

Last year’s Rodeo was a busy one. 

The Rodeo weighed in 1,121 fish, not counting the ones that didn’t make the leaderboard. The Rodeo had 113 charter boats registered, 188 private boats and 91 anglers who fished off the pier, bridge, jetty or surf. The Rodeo and AJ’s also gave away 1,500 fishing rods to kids. 

Capt. Eric Thrasher was re-elected to serve on the board of directors for the Destin Fishing Rodeo.

In addition to signing up for various committees such as rules and awards committees, Miss Destin Pageant committee and judges committee, the members got to vote for three new directors to serve on the Rodeo board. 

Capt. Eric Thrasher was voted back on the board along with newcomer Capt. Mark Hotze and longtime Rodeo volunteer Becky McFarland.  

Becky McFarland was selected to serve on the Destin Fishing Rodeo board of directors.

Before the evening wrapped up, Donaldson noted the Miss Destin pageant will be held at Destin High School this year. 

Capt. Mark Hotze was selected to serve on the Destin Fishing Rodeo board of directors.

Also, if you missed the meeting and would still like to become involved with the Rodeo, it's not too late. Memberships are available for $35 for individuals and $50 for families. Corporate memberships are available for $100, which will include a company logo and a larger presence in the Rodeo book. For more information, go to destinfishingrodeo.org or call the Rodeo office at 850-837-6734.