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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Big Daddy’s memory lives on through rodeo

Big Daddy’s memory lives on through rodeo

They gather every year on the western-most tip of Grand Isle at Bridge Side Marina. Their first gathering was August 15, 2009. This year it’s July 31 and August 1. This will be their sixth time honoring Mike “Big Daddy” Bourgeois with a fishing rodeo unlike any other.

Mike passed away in 2008 from a Common Variable Immunodeficiency disease at just 38 years of age. He possessed a deep passion for life, family, friends and fishing. His motto, “Don’t count the days, make the days count,” is documented and displayed proudly on the back of each and every one of the Mike “Big Daddy” Fish On Rodeo t-shirts.

Molly Bourgeois remembers her husband’s deep love for fishing and his ability to encourage and inspire others.

“Mike loved fishing. He really loved offshore fishing,” she says. “My nephews had an interest in fishing. Mike saw that and helped them enhance their love for the sport. Now they are old enough and go offshore fishing on their own.”

Mike was a constant positive force in people’s lives.

After his passing the family wanted to find a way to remember Mike and share his love of life and fishing. Molly’s brother-in-law, Mark Bruce, along with a few of Mike’s other fishing buddies got together and started the Mike “Big Daddy” Fish On Rodeo.

“Mike was such an avid fisherman,” says Bruce. “I wanted to do something to honor Mike and figured a fishing rodeo was a great way to do that.”

The goal of the Rodeo is two-fold, to ensure Mike’s story and memory will always be remembered and shared and to fund scholarships to graduating seniors.

“Mike went to H.L. Bourgeois and I went to South Lafourche,” says Molly, “so we award scholarships at both schools.”

They have been awarding two scholarships a year to the two schools for the last five years now. The rodeo funds scholarships at both schools and the rodeo itself. It’s a celebration with a purpose.
The small $5 entrance fee for a kid or adult in both inshore and offshore divisions has increased the rodeo’s numbers year after year.

“It truly is an event that keeps growing every year,” said Molly. “We get together with family and friends and talk, laugh and fish! It’s a family-oriented fun time that everyone seems to really enjoy!”
The scales are open from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday with a ceremony and dinner to follow.

“For $5, it’s a great deal,” says Bruce. “And, we have some great prizes too,” he adds.

As president and chairman of the Mike “Big Daddy” Fish On Rodeo, he knows the rodeo’s growth first hand.
“It really is getting bigger and bigger every year, but it’s still a nice, little family rodeo, too.”

You can make a donation or register for the rodeo at the Mike “Big Daddy” Bourgeois Fish On Rodeo’s website, You can also register at Bridge Side Marina until 6 p.m. Saturday, August 1, the start of the rodeo.

Fish on!