Fellow Anglers and Rodeo Supporters,
It is with great honor and pleasure that I welcome you to the 83rd Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo. I want to thank you all on behalf of the Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Advisers, Committee members, and our families, without your continued support our tournament could not be possible. As a fellow fisherman along the Gulf Coast, I am overjoyed with our continued advancements with conservation. We are the World's oldest and largest fishing tournament as recognized by Guinness World Records in 2011. I know that our founding leaders would be extremely proud of not only the leaders our organization has produced but of our continued focus on conservation each tournament year. On behalf of the Mobile Junior Area Chamber of Commerce, I would like to thank all of our sponsors, anglers, spectators and volunteers. We would not be the tournament we are today without each and every one of you.
As fisheries change, tournaments change; including species fished, rules, prizes, and conservation efforts. All these changes bring their own set of challenges but our tournament must respond and evolve in order to continue the greatest tournament in the world! My first order as president for this year's Executive Committee and Board of Directors was to pull together and find new ways to continue our tradition of putting on a World Class fishing tournament. With unsurpassed prizes, and conservation in mind, we have made some great additions to this year's tournament.
As an avid fisherman and conservationist, I am beyond proud to bring back the Live Weigh In to our tournament. Not only will we have a Live Weigh in category for Specked Trout as we did in 2015, we have added a live weigh in to our Redfish category. The Mobile County Sheriff's Flotilla has generously given us use of their 1,400 gallon tank allowing us the capability to display the live weigh in process to all rodeo spectators. We feel this is another way to focus on conservation by protecting the most pressured species.
In addition to Catch and Release Tarpon we are doubling our conservation efforts by partnering with Guy Harvey and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation for a second year of the Catch and Release Shark Division. Participants in this division will compete for $10,000 in cash and other prizes. The Rodeo is proud to continue to support conservation and look forward to many years of expanding our conservation efforts.
The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo remains committed to the Conservation of Marine Resources and giving back to the Mobile Community. We will continue to fund multiple graduate level scholarships for the Department of Marine Science and the University of South Alabama. Over the years, the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo has donated in excess of $225,000 to the Department of Marine Science at the University of South Alabama. This year we have the continued support of The Billfish Foundation. We are also excited to welcome back the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to assist in our conservation efforts. We look forward to funding the Mobile Jaycees Children's Shopping Tour, with the proceeds from the Roy Martin Young Anglers Tournament. This funding provides local children the opportunity to shop for Christmas gifts for their families.
The Rodeo Executive Committee has worked for an entire year, attended more than 24 meetings and spent countless hours away from their families and friends. This year's Rodeo not only has the largest awards package in its 83 year history but we are proud to have Guy Harvey design the 83rd ADSFR print. Anglers will compete for up to one million dollars in cash and prizes. Our prize package is anchored by a 22' Contender boat, Yamaha motor, and trailer package; awarded through a random drawing of all anglers who weigh a legal fish during the ADSFR. The Pronto Pawn King Mackerel Jackpot will include a random drawing of all participants weighing a legal fish, for a 2016 Honda Recon 4 wheeler. In the Yamaha Motor Speckled Trout Jackpot, all entrants weighing a legal fish will be entered into a random drawing for a Yamaha motor. The addition of our Cash Prize Division to the 80th ADSFR has been a huge success. Anglers will again be able to compete for cash in the Big Game, King Mackerel, and Speckled Trout divisions. We hope to continue to grow the cash prize division during the 83rd tournament by encouraging all anglers to take the competition to another level.
This year we continued our tradition of giving back to the community and supporting science education in 2016 through donations to The University of South Alabama Marine Science Department, The American Cancer Society, and The Billfish Foundation. In addition, we also made donations to the City of Dauphin Island and the Mobile Jaycees Christmas Shopping Tour.
I would like to thank all the anglers, sponsors, and volunteers for their steadfast support of the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo throughout the past 83 years. Special thanks to our major sponsors, including: Contender Boats, Yamaha Motor Corp., McConnell Automotive, The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Springhill Medical Center, First Community Bank, Costa Sunglasses, Raymarine, Mojo Sportswear, Lit Coolers, CocaCola, Crown Royal, Exxon Mobile, Pronto Pawn, The Grounds and the Mobile Jaycees for their continued support. I'd also like to thank our friends in the local media: Wayne Gardner and Sean Sullivan of FM Talk 106.5, WNSP, WZEW WKSJ, WALA, WPMI, and WKRG. Finally, I would like to thank the Town of Dauphin Island, including the town council, police department, public works department and mayor Jeff Collier.
In our efforts to continue to expand the greatest fishing tournament in the world, we have added live music to our tournament festivities for 2016. The First Community Bank stage will host such acts as Dylan Scott and The Mulligan Brothers along with many other local artists. We are proud to bring this new addition to all our ADSFR spectators.
I hope all anglers will continue to uphold the ASDFR rules and regulations to the highest standard. Without a code of ethics our tournament wouldn't be what it is today. I wish all anglers safe passage, great fishing and lasting memories for your trip during the 83rd ADSFR.
Capt. Richard Rutland
83rd Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo