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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo a hit

Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo a hit

The weather stayed dry. Of course, that meant the temperatures stayed warm. And the fish in the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding marshlands of Golden Meadow, Leeville and Fourchon cooperated and bit the bait.
Combine that with a large turnout, lively bands and an abundance of food and drinks and one can easily state the obvious: The Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo was a serious hit.

The annual rodeo took place throughout the Independence Day weekend at Moran’s Marina in Fourchon. Hundreds of thousands of fish were caught and weighed during the three-day event, which crowned champions in multiple categories.

At night, musical acts entertained the crowds, which turned out in droves to support the event, which enjoyed its first year under its new rebranding efforts – a successful one, according to folks who organized and helped plan the week.

“The week has been a big success,” 2015 Rodeo Admiral Eddie Callais said. “We’re a family event. That’s something that we will always be. We had a lot of kids compete. We had a lot of kayakers compete. We gave all the kids who fished a rod and a bag with some tackle. It’s all been great. We’ve all had a great time and a very enjoyable week.”

On the final day of weigh-ins, it was a Baton Rouge man who snagged arguably the fish of the week.

J.J. Tabor, of Baton Rouge, hauled in a massive, 206-pound, 3-ounce grouper that wowed the audience at the weigh station. It won first prize by an astounding 200-plus pounds, outweighing the 5-pound, 9-ounce grouper that Jonathan Lindley, of Thibodaux snagged. The victorious grouper was easily the largest fish caught in the entire shoreline division, which had seven total categories. It helped Tabor earn the rodeo’s Outstanding Shoreline Division Fisherman Award.

The Baton Rouge native also won the title for King Mackerel, weighing a 45-pound, 6-ounce fish.

“It’s awesome,” Tabor said of the successful rodeo. “We had a great time, and the grouper was huge. As soon as it was hooked, we had an idea that it was a pretty special fish.”

In the inshore division, a well-known local name shined, as Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Jerry Larpenter took home first, second and third place for Rat Reds. He weighed fish of 8-pounds, 14 ounces, 8-pounds, 1-ounce and 7-pounds, 13-ounces to take the title.

Sheriff Larpenter also won Rat Red Stringer, weighing in at 36-pounds, 6-ounces.
In the kid’s division, Cut Off native Austin Danos also hooked a nice rat red, winning the title with a 7-pound, 6-ounce lunker.

The 2015 rodeo was the first in this annual event’s history that was enjoyed indoors with air conditioning. The rodeo featured a fully cooled tent that provided hospitable conditions to everyone in attendance.
That, plus a satellite television system in the tent allowed folks to watch fish being weighed without needing to go outdoors and endure the heat.

It all added up to creating a hospitable, home-like feel, which is exactly what Callais and his group were looking for. He said that he wanted to thank all of the event’s sponsors and supporters for allowing things to go as smoothly as they did.

“We’re going to take what we did this year and work hard to try and do even better next year,” Callais said. “People are telling us they’re having a good time and that they can’t wait to do it again next year.”