Some time last spring, a good friend of mine told me that a lady from Lafayette wanted to talk to me about possibly helping plan a bayou cleanup in preparation for a kayak fishing tournament to be held in Dulac this fall. (Some of you veteran readers may recall that Dulac is where I first worked when I came down here in 1978 and where I eventually met The Captain, who is a Houma Indian from that same bayou community.) Well, one thing led to another, and next thing I know, I’m accepting Sarah Schoeffler’s invitation to a planning meeting in Houma. Lord knows I didn’t really need one more commitment, but going to a meeting wasn’t a commitment, was it?
At that first meeting, I learned that most of the folks in attendance were either on the board of or worked for the Dulac Community Center, (DCC), which serves Houma Indians, as well as residents of the other four bayou communities. The DCC offers classes in native arts and crafts, distributes commodities to those in need, and offers health, wellness, eye exam clinics, and acupuncture throughout the year. They also operate a gym where youngsters can hang out after school. They are an asset to the community, and I invite you to read more about their programs here.
So, back to the April meeting. This committee was looking for a fund raiser to benefit the center, and after much discussion, it came down to the idea of a fishing rodeo. During my first phone conversation with Sarah, I realized that she has a heart to see all five of the lower Terrebonne Parish bayou communities united. That knowledge inspired me to come up with the name, “5 Bayous Fishing Rodeo”. My friend, Kay Matherne, who owns Cajun Printing, then took the DCC logo to a friend of hers, who designed a logo specifically for this event. With the logo proof in hand, the idea of a five bayous rodeo was rapidly becoming a reality. I had never helped plan a rodeo before, and who knows? Maybe the knowledge I gained would prove useful in the future. Count me in.
And so it began–six months of regular meetings, planning, discussing, approaching would-be sponsors, etc. Finally, all our hard work culminated in the first ever 5 Bayous Fishing Rodeo this past Saturday. I did not fish the rodeo because no professional fishing guides were allowed. It’s okay, because I had the honor of recording the fish weights.
Saturday morning greeted the fisher-folks with chilly 56 degree temps and a North wind way too brisk for fishing. As a result, of the 127 rodeo tickets pre-sold, only about 20 of those came to the weigh in to enter their fish in the competition. We have no way of knowing how many of those registered actually went fishing and chose not to show up to the weigh-in empty handed or just didn’t go fishing at all.
Of those 127 ticket sold, six of them were tickets I sold to Danno, MuzicMan, Termite, Coco, and two of their friends. A total of six of them fished out of Bayou Dularge in two boats. They fished long and hard under terrible conditions. When they arrived at the weigh-in, MuzicMan proudly weighed in the only fish of the day caught between the two boats. Although he weighed in a beautiful redfish, it wasn’t quite heavy enough to place. MuzicMan didn’t seem to care; rather, he was super stoked that he caught the only fish of the day among our clan of die-hard fisher-folks!
Now, meet Kalon Johnson, an up and coming competitive kayak fisherman from Thibodaux whom I encouraged to fish this rodeo. I first learned about him several years ago on Facebook. We became FB friends, and it has been a pleasure watching him blossom into such a fine young man and fisherman. He also braved the winds in his Hobie peddle-craft kayak, and it definitely paid off for him. He was one of only two kayak entries for the day, and he handily took first place in the Redfish category and walked away with $300 cash for his trouble! After he weighed his fish, I introduced him to my kids and their significant others, and they all hung out eating jambalaya made by a group of men from First United Methodist Church of Houma.
Frankie and Vera Duplantis, The Captain’s niece and nephew, soon showed up to weigh in his fish. Frankie had some nice reds, and maybe a speckled trout or two. (I don’t recall, because after a while, all those fish became a blur!)
His biggest redfish took first place in the Redfish category, and he also walked away with with $300 cash. Not too shabby!
At 3:00 the scale closed, and it was time for the door prizes. I’ve never seen a group of young people enjoy door prizes so much; and I, in turn, got a big kick out of watching them and listening to their banter about who would win what.
First, Frankie laid claim to a nice cast iron Dutch oven, and wouldn’t you know? He won it! Then MuzicMan laid claim to a nice ice chest as it came up to the table, and wouldn’t you know? Danno won it; and when he returned to his seat, he set the ice chest at MuzicMan’s feet. How generous!
Then a beautiful swamp scene photograph came up, and my daughter-in-law, Gingey, wanted it. Well, she couldn’t possibly win it because she didn’t buy a ticket. Who won it? MuzicMan did and promptly placed it in her hands before taking his seat again. I just LOVE these kids. Okay, well, they’re not kids any more, but you know what I mean.
The next door prize up for grabs was a very nice fishing rod, and who won that? Coco–the one of us who owns the least fishing gear but loves to fish as much as any of us. She was some excited!
As the door prize pile dwindled down, Termite laid claim to a nice fondue set, which he didn’t win, nor did anyone in our group win for him. He was so disappointed, since he was about the only one who had not won a prize. By this time, the only items left on the table were kiddie items, so he laid claim to a Sponge Bob backpack, but again, his name wasn’t chosen. However, what happened next will be the source of laughter at many family gatherings in the near future!
As you watch the video taken by Danno, my 28 y/o son, you will hear him say this right at the beginning, “Princess school bag. Seth’s about to win that. Seth’s about to win that. Watch.”
(Seth is Termite’s real name.)
Okay, y’all gotta admit that’s funny right there. He OWNED that princess backpack, and he ROCKED it!!!! No shame whatsoever. What a great sport! And for those who are wondering–he gave it away before we left, but not until after we all had a good laugh about it!
The final door prize of the day was a glittery pink lunch bag, and who do you think won that? I did, but I told them to pull another name. (In hindsight, I should have taken the prize and given it to a little girl. Oh well.)
All told, there were six of us sitting there who had purchased tickets, and all six of us won door prizes. Pretty amazing, right?
Even though participation was down due to the deplorable fishing conditions, those who participated enjoyed themselves immensely and said they would definitely take part if we hold the event again next year. Hopefully, those of us on the planning committee will learn from our mistakes, correct them and make the event all the better next year.
I’d like to personally thank the committee, the sponsors, and all the participants for making the first ever 5 Bayous Fishing Rodeo a success! Hard work paid off, and it really was a lot of fun!
New delicious recipe coming soon!