Started by a conversation at a bar in Golden Meadow 70 years ago, the Golden Meadow-Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo has grown to become more than just a fishing tournament. This four-day event is filled with entertaining activities that give it a festival-like atmosphere: delicious food booths, live music, tents, and much more.
Although it’s an event packed with entertainment, it also serves as a culture and heritage refresher for the people of Lafourche and Grand Isle as well as a fundraiser for the education of the community’s youth (last year granted $32,500 in scholarships to local, graduating high school seniors). This is shown in their mission statement, “The mission of the Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo is to maintain the unique family oriented sportsmen culture and heritage of Lafourche and Grand Isle through a community fishing rodeo, with proceeds dedicated to scholarships and educational opportunities for future generations.”
This year’s rodeo kicks off with a golf tournament that starts at 7 a.m. on July 4. The following morning, the fishing tournament begins at safelight for the children and adult divisions. The food booths, scales, tents, and bar open at 1:00 p.m. The very popular food tasting, King of the Catch, is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. that Friday night.
“[King of the Catch] is always a favorite. We have teams compete for three different awards, and they’ll cook local seafood dishes,” says Eddie Callais, president of the rodeo. “The nice part about it is for people attending, we sell a $15 all-you-can-eat bracelets. They can sample foods from all of the cooks cooking, and it’s just a really big event.”
The King of the Catch awards (King of the Catch, Best Presentation, and People’s Choice) will be handed out at 9:00 p.m. On both Friday and Saturday from 1-9:00 p.m., kids can enjoy Game On Wheels–an 18-wheeler, air conditioned truck filled with 9 flat screen tvs and the latest Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii games. The charismatic musician, Rich O’Toole will rock inside the air conditioned tent from 7-11:00 p.m. to close out Friday night.
Next day, the fun continues with the bar, scales, and tent opening once again at 1 p.m. The band BACWEN will be providing the enjoyable tunes from 3-6 p.m. Talented and renowned artist, Christy Boutte, will be selling and personalizing rodeo posters from 6-8 p.m. Following the auction at 6 p.m., awards will be given for the children and adult divisions. The night ends with raffle drawings and door prizes from 8:30-9 p.m.
“The event is rich in our local heritage and culture, and then beyond that,” Eddie says. “For me, a big part of it was getting involved to keep the event alive, keep it going. It has so much history in our community. It just promotes our culture and our heritage.” •