Fellow Anglers and Rodeo Supporters,
Welcome to the 85th Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, the 2011 Guinness World Records approved World’s Largest Fishing Tournament and a project of the Mobile Jaycees.
Having been born and raised in Mobile County, I am proud to know that the ADSFR is here, in Dauphin Island, AL, in the southern part of Mobile County. While traveling around the southeast for work and speaking with different businesses and anglers across the country, I have learned that the ADSFR and Dauphin Island are well-known and respected for the fishing and laid back, low-key style.
As a young boy I began visiting the ADSFR site with my parents, Chip and Russanne Howell, every year during the 3rd weekend in July, until I became a member of the Mobile Jaycees in 2012. By joining this group, I knew I had surrounded myself with a great group of guys and leaders within the community. I quickly figured out that this organization was built around the adage “you get out of it what you put into it”. And now, 6 years later, the ADSFR has become more than just an organization - we are a family.
This year’s members, including the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Past Presidents and Advisors, and Committee Members, have put countless hours of hard work into this year’s tournament. Because of the dedication of our membership, I hope and expect this year’s tournament to be the best ever. Of course that is no small feat, considering what an outstanding job the past 84 Presidents and the membership have done.
Due to the force of Hurricane Nate, which made landfall on October 7, 2017, the Rodeo site sustained several thousands of dollars in damage. The building received 24” of water and the boardwalk was completely destroyed. Fortunately, the Rodeo members sprang to action and put our site back together. In addition to other site repairs, the boardwalk was completely replaced, something that hasn’t been done since Hurricane Ivan destroyed it in 2004.
In the past several years, we have deepened our commitment to coastal conservation, specifically regarding tournament fishing. The ADSFR has donated more than $300,000 to the University of South Alabama (USA) over the years. Thanks to last year’s tournament proceeds, a donation of $25,000 was made to the USA Department of Marine Sciences to fund graduate-level scholarships. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the University in this 85th year as well.
This year’s award packages are sure to impress. We will have the random drawing for the 20th Anniversary Edition 22’ Contender Boat powered by Yamaha. The winner of the Speckled Trout Jackpot random drawing will take home a 19-foot War Eagle boat powered by a 90 hp Yamaha motor. The Speckled Trout, King Mackerel and Big Game Cash Prize divisions will continue to be based on angler and boat participation. This year we have added Red Snapper, Tarpon and Swordfish to the Cash Prize division. We will also continue the respective King Mackerel, Big Game, Speckled Trout, and Red Snapper Jackpot random drawings.
In our effort to continue to enhance the spectator experience, we will have the King Mackerel Jackpot and Big Game Jackpot entries on display on the site, as well as a live digital leaderboard, so everyone can see real time unofficial tournament standings. And while our visitors are admiring the catches, they can also enjoy the Rodeo Music Festival being held on our site all weekend. The AutoNation stage will host such acts as The Molly Ringwalds, Rollin’ in the Hay, and The Mailman & the Back Pew Riders, as well as other local artists.
Another exciting part of our week, and probably my favorite, is the 60th Roy Martin Young Anglers Tournament (RMYAT), which will be held this year on Saturday, July 14. The kids that come to our site are so excited about their catches, and of course the hot dog and ice cream they get after weighing their fish. We have found that the kids who fish the RMYAT tend to come back year after year, usually as a tradition with a close relative, or with some friends as they get older. We are so thrilled to be a part of developing their love of fishing and it is exciting to see them when they transition to fishing the ADSFR.
We owe a debt of gratitude for the support of all of our anglers, sponsors and spectators. We know that if it were not for them, our tournament would not be the success it is today. Special thanks to our President’s sponsors including Contender Boats, Yamaha Motors, AutoNation, KYSEK Coolers, Academy Sports, Costa Del Mar, Raymarine, Coca Cola, Visit Mobile, Springhill Medical, Craneworks, and Tackle This Shoot That. I would also like to thank our friends in the local media, including Sean Sullivan of FM Talk 106.5, Lee Shirvanian with WNSP 105.5, Dan and Shelby with 95KSJ, iHeartRadio, WZEW, WALA, WPMI, and WKRG. I would especially like to thank the Town of Dauphin Island, including the Town Council, Police Department, Public Works Department, and Mayor Jeff Collier.
Now I’d like to thank my amazing family. My kids, Caroline and Monroe, have developed a love for the Rodeo and appreciation for my work on it. Thank you to my parents, who introduced me to the Rodeo all those years ago, and who now support my involvement.
Of course, I must give most of my gratitude and appreciation to my wife, Elizabeth (or “Liz”, as she is known to our friends and Rodeo family) for her love and support. Her involvement in the tournament, specifically in the weigh station each year, has encouraged me to remain passionate about the Rodeo and its continuing success.
Finally, I hope all anglers will continue to uphold the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo rules and regulations to the highest standard. Without these our tournament would not be what it is today. I wish all anglers safe passage, great fishing, and lasting memories for your trip during the 85th Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.
Louis M. Howell III
President – 85th Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo