GULFOPRT, Miss. (WLOX) - The kids take center stage at the Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo at Jones Park in Gulfport on Saturday.
Every year, about 150 kids enter the event, but this year, some extra cash may bring more participation.
Richard Stewart of Saucier put up $100 for the winner of three categories, and when the word of his donation spread around the rodeo grounds, vendors began putting up cash too. Now, the first-place winners in all 11 categories will get at least $50 on top of the merchandise prizes.
Stewart said he made the donation to encourage more kids to go fishing. He said he wants to put fishing poles in kids’ hands to keep them away from destructive activities.
Weighmaster Donnie Armes said despite the algae bloom, there are plenty of places for the kids to fish.
“The only thing that worries me is they’re not letting them fish the piers and stuff, so they’ll have to find them a place where they can,” Armes said. “Our freshwater kids, they’ll have their ponds, they’ll be in the rivers and everything. They can still go in Back Bay and fish. they’ll be able to find a few fish in there.”