The home of the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo is in ruins, with only a slab remaining of Rice Pavilion. But the group that puts on the long time tradition is determined to keep the fish biting this year.
Fishing Rodeo President, Chuck Dedeaux says, "If they would give us the permission to do the rodeo the only help that we're askin' the city is just to clean up the area and put water down there."
The city's leisure services director says they want to help. Edward Salloum will meet with the rodeo committee next week.
"We wanna see what their time frame is, wanna make sure we get the contractors removed that are usin' the site right now as a temporary site that contractors are doing debris removal, we've gotta coordinate that and we've got quite a bit of cleanup that needs to be taken care of," Salloum says.
With no pavilion, the activities will take place under tents, like in the rodeo's early days. Tight space will mean fewer vendors, but Dedeaux says everything else stays the same.
"We are gonna set up some tents and have entertainment like we always had, weigh in of the fish, the children's rodeo, our shoot-outs all that is still gonna be like it was."
Gulfport used to give money to the rodeo. The last donation was in 2002. Dedeaux says they count on gate admissions and sponsorships to pay expenses.
"We have cut everything we can back just for more of a survival and we don't wanna skip a year, it's gone on so long. We have gone through a lot at the Rice Pavillion, went through the tents and now we're back in the tents so we're just starting all over again," Dedeaux says.
Three city council members say they want to see what requests the fishing rodeo committee makes before they give their okay to the event. Committee members will meet with city reps next Tuesday afternoon.