Destin Fishing Rodeo

The Destin Fishing Rodeo began in May of 1948 to bring people to Destin. It worked! Destin shortly became known as a summer tourist destination and “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”.  The Destin Fishing Rodeo is the ultimate fishing tournament for salt water anglers of all ages.

The Rodeo founders, people such as Howard Marler, Jewel Melvin and Willie Marler, decided that moving the Rodeo to October would lengthen the tourist season another month. Today the Rodeo is held October 1- 31.

Destin Fishing Rodeo awards are sponsored in good part by area businesses. Other awards are paid for by the Rodeo through entry fees and merchandise sales.

We do not know if the name “Luckiest Fishing Village” came from the size and amount of fish that can be caught off Destin’s shores, or the prizes that were won in those first Rodeos. The winning King Mackerel in the first Rodeo won the angler a new kitchen: a refrigerator, stove, and even the kitchen sink. In 1950, the Rodeo was still awarding kitchen appliances, but the top prize that year was a lot in Destin, complete with survey, title, and insurance. The lot was valued at $500. Mmmmm, wonder what that prize would be worth today? Of course, not all the prizes could be that grand, for example, the largest Triggerfish in 1951 brought $25.00, 1 windshield wiper, and 12 cans of beer to the lucky angler.

The Rodeo no longer awards kitchen appliances or beer to the winners. As far as the lot in Destin goes… we will be happy to give one away if someone wants to donate it. Today the awards are mostly fine rods and reels, fishing trips, weekend stays and everyone’s favorite, cash.

The committee is kicking around ideas for future prizes, and with new contacts that we are making all the time, we hope to be adding boats, cars and exotic fishing trips to the list of prizes in the next few years. Stay tuned!

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