Fishing Rodeo Organizers Plan On Staying At New Location

There have been some record-breaking catches this year at the Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, but attendance is holding steady. That's according to event coordinators. The popular fishing event has been held at Gulfport's Rice Pavilion in years past, but had to move inland this year because of damage from Katrina.

Kanya Derbigny has gone to the Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo since she was a little girl. This year, she brought her mom and three daughters along. It was her youngest daughter's first time at the rodeo, and the whole family's first time at its new venue.

"I like it on the beach, but it's great that they had the opportunity to move it here to keep it in Mississippi again. I really look forward to coming every year, but it was just a great opportunity to find a new venue this year. But hopefully they'll be back on the beach, though," Derbigny said.

The rodeo has been moved about 15 miles from its original venue at Gulfport's Rice Pavilion. Most of the people we talked with said they had to drive a little farther to get to this year's rodeo, but they all agreed they were glad the show is still going on.

"It's good that it's still going on. It's a little nicer when it's down by the beach, at the beach, of course, but I'm glad that they're still having it. It's a chance for the kids to get around and see how things used to be a little bit, but we look forward to it being at the beach," said Gulfport resident Rene Bankston.

Although people didn't come out in record-breaking numbers, event organizers are pleased with this year's turn-out.

"We're averaging about the same as we normally do on a four day rodeo - 4,000 on the first day, 3,000 on the second day is what the estimate is right now," said event coordinator Mike Ernst.

As for the locale of next year's rodeo, that's still up in the air.

"We're hoping to be invited back to this venue. We are open to others, as well, but we're planning to be here next year," Ernst said.