GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - One of the highlights of the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo each year is the kids fishing rodeo. The rodeo, which draws between 150 and 200 children between the ages of four and 12, is set for Saturday at Jones Park. The weigh scales will be open from noon to 4 p.m., and there is no entry fee.
However, all kids entering a fish must be accompanied by an adult. Also, kids are allowed to enter the rodeo at the weigh scales.
"To me, it's the highlight of the rodeo," Weighmaster Mark Wright said. "Each year, we generally have between 150 to 200 or more kids to participate. We do see a lot of repeat children, and their parents tell us the kids live for this event. We literally have kids weighing fish from 4-years-old all the way to 12 years. We seem to get bigger and bigger each year, too. To be truthful, it's our (rodeo officials) highlight, too."
Freshwater categories feature bass, bream and catfish, while the saltwater categories include black drum, croaker, ground mullet, flounder, redfish, sheepshead, speckled trout and white trout.
The main entries come from George, Stone, Pearl River, Hancock, Harrison and Jackson counties.
"We see most of the kids from the six coastal counties," Wright said. "Every child that enters a fish will receive a free coke, a free T-shirt and a free hot dog. We have an assortment of prizes for the top five places in freshwater and saltwater, too. Our goal is to make every child feels like they're winners when they walk away from the weigh scales. After all, it's all about the kids, and that's why it's free to fish."