Long Beach wants to be the anchor of MS Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo

LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Since Katrina, the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo has had to move around a lot but now Long Beach officials are hoping the event will put down roots in their city. The fishing rodeo will anchor at harbor this Fourth of July weekend. The Long Beach Port Commission is looking for the start of a long term relationship.

One look at the restored Long Beach Harbor and organizers of the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo say they knew they'd found an ideal location for their event.

"The facilities, the facilities that they have here are fantastic," said Michael Casano, organizer. "The progress that Long Beach has made since Katrina, I think it's been underestimated. They have a pavilion, parking, lighting, water, power, bathrooms which is about everything we need to host our event."

Where the rodeo goes, the crowds usually follow, and that could be good news for Long Beach businesses. Organizers say in the last few years the four day event has averaged 15,000 participants and spectators.

"We put thousands of people through the door, and thousands of people come here and they spend money," said Casano. "They spend money at the event. They spend money at local restaurants, spend money buying tackle and fishing supplies. We have a significant impact."

Long Beach port commissioners are enthusiastic about what hosting the fishing rodeo could mean for their city now and over time.

Commissioner Phil Kies said, "The exposure of the city and the harbor is what I'm excited about because I believe that will have a long term effect. It will be able to bring other events, as well as, hopefully bring the rodeo back next year and the year after that. They had a long term run over in Gulfport, and I think it's Long Beach's turn. "

Rodeo organizers say with this being their fourth relocation since Hurricane Katrina, they are growing tired of moving around.

Casano said, "We've been homeless, and we've been wandering. We are anxious to find a permanent home."

The Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo includes a carnival and is scheduled for July 1-4. Last year the rodeo was held at Island View Casino in Gulfport, but event organizers say this year the space wasn't available.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.