Get your boats, fishing tackle and plans ready over the next several weeks, folks, because there will be a 61st annual Kay-Cee Saltwater Fishing Rodeo on Labor Day Weekend.

Second-year fishing rodeo chairman Bryan Boutte of New Iberia announced this past week there would be a Kay-Cee Saltwater Fishing Rodeo on Sept. 4-6 at Cypremort Point.

That there is another fishing rodeo means a lot more this year, a cause for celebration, if you will, because the popular holiday weekend event was canceled for coronavirus-related reasons last summer. Knights of Columbus Council 3425 members voted against hosting the fishing rodeo, which surprised few people because there were whispers about its fate starting in mid-June.

Boutte is enthusiastic and chomping at the bit to bring the event back to the Teche Area.

“I’m pretty glad to get back out there and see people participating. We’re going to follow through. Hopefully, everything (including the weather) turns out well,” he said late Thursday afternoon.

The Kay-Cees, who meet every second Monday of the month and have had several fishing rodeo meetings, decided to divert from the two-day format that was implemented a few years ago and return to a three-day format on Saturday, Sunday and Labor Day Monday. Also, there will be only an Inside Division to go along with the Kids Division. The Kay-Cees have dropped the Kayak Division, which had sparse if any competition through 2019, and years ago eliminated the Offshore Division.

Cash prizes will be awarded first- through third-place finishes in each category of the Inside Division. Kids Division winners will receive trophies.

Boutte, a 63-year-old auto technician who has worked 40 years at Musson-Patout Automotive, has been a Kay-Cees member for approximately 13 years. He took the role as fishing rodeo chairman last year to replace Pat Giorgio.

His first event got canceled. Now he’s ready to usher in a fishing rodeo to resume the tradition after the church organization gave it a thumbs up.

“When things started opening up (restrictions relaxed) with COVID, we decided to wait and see if the Rod & Gun Club would have theirs. From what I understand, they had a good turnout. I guess everybody was ready to get out there,” Boutte said about the Iberia Rod & Gun Club’s 68th annual event held July 2-4. “We’ve got to get our feet wet at some point. There has been a lot of coordination (in the planning).”

He expects the downsized fishing rodeo brochure to be published and on the streets in early August or, at the latest, mid-August.

When Boutte confirmed last year’s cancellation on June 30, he said, “Well, hopefully, everything will be in a better position next year. We look forward to doing that. It’s one of our major fundraisers each year. Yeah, it’s breaking a tradition. We look forward to getting out there with the guys who support us.”

Apparently, we’re in a better position one year later, albeit with some threatening clouds forming on the horizon. I’m sure the area’s many avid saltwater fishermen, young and old, will respond to getting in one last event in and around Vermilion Bay.

DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.

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