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Destin to host events next week, Fishing Rodeo goes into 65 year
DESTIN -- One of Destin's biggest events kicks off next week. The Destin Fishing Rodeo is heading into its 65th year. October's extra Red Snapper Season has excitement running high.
At the weigh-in platform for the Destin Fishing Rodeo, here is how it works. Boats pull into this slip behind AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar, hoping their catch is the biggest and the best.
For 65 years, the rodeo has brought visitors to Destin in the off-season, when they're most needed.
Mr. Myers from Kentucky said, "Its just electric. It's a good time for the locals and the people that come back every year to fish the tournament."
Rodeo Director Helen Donaldson said 60 percent of those anglers are from out of town, and stay five or six days. This year, there's an extra incentive to come and fish.....A bonus Red Snapper Season.
Helen Donaldson said, "It's been seven years since we've been able to catch red snapper during the fishing rodeo."
Bruce Cheves said, "Everything's open...We've got snapper, we've got grouper and amberjack and triggerfish and everything that goes with them."
Bruce Cheves is the rodeo weigh master.
For 31 days straight, he manages the weigh station and keeps the crowd entertained.
Cheves said, "There's a lot of excitement here. You can feel it in the crowd. And all I gotta do is tell 'em I heard a big one's coming in, and boom, it'll double, whether that's fish story or the real thing."
Donaldson said many charter boats already have their first two weeks booked. And this year, even spectators can get a "feel" of the rodeo. Unusual fish and maybe even a shark will be kept on ice in a giant tank.
Helen Donaldson said, People are going to be able to walk up to it and actually touch the fish, touch the shark....cause everybody wants to know what it feels like, I do!"
There are a slew of events this weekend here at AJs kicking off the rodeo....including the Big Mac King Mackerel tournament, and the kids wagon parade.