The 15th annual Nick Sheahan Dolphin Rodeo is set to bring in big fish and even bigger donations to benefit local graduating seniors.
Each year the rodeo promises great music, delicious food from local restaurants, exciting raffle prizes, and a tournament no fisherman wants to miss.
This special event brings the community together in memory of Nick Sheahan and his love for fishing. Nick died tragically in 2004 of shallow water blackout while diving in the Bahamas. It was the summer before his junior year at Coral Shores High School. Friends and family started the event to honor Nick and bring awareness to the highly underrecognized risk of shallow water blackout.
Every year, fishermen turn out to Tavernier Creek Marina in hopes of breaking the Florida state record for largest Dolphin Fish and claiming the grand prize of $25,000. If the record goes unbroken, first place will receive $5,000, second place $2,500, and third place $1,000.
Trophies, fishing gear, a gas giveaway for boats are just a few of the prizes for adults and junior competitors. If you don’t reel in the grand Dolphin Fish, prizes for the largest Wahoo and Tuna are also awarded.
With the help of 32 sponsors, local vendors, and the Florida Keys Tourist and Development Council, the annual event has raised over $315,000 for selected graduating seniors of CSHS in its lifetime.
“The first scholarships ever awarded were given to four of Nick’s closest friends,” Nick’s father, Tom Sheahan, says. “Now, 15 years later, it’s amazing how many kids we’ve been able to help in memory of my son.”
Last year was the comeback year after 2020’s event was canceled due to Covid, and it was a huge success. Though the 2020 event was canceled, they still raised $20,000 and set a goal to double that in 2021. They reached that goal with $40,000 in donations, translating to 16 students receiving $2,500 scholarships.
The silent auction is a highlight of the Kickoff Party, with items donated by local businesses such as artwork, jewelry, and gift certificates for fishing trips and hotel stays. Plus, a 50/50 raffle for prizes like a high-end cooler, hotel stay, fishing trip, and other goodies.
“We had more anglers and guests than ever before last year, and we expect it to be even bigger this year,” Tom says. “All thanks to the many volunteers and donors who help year after year.” Special thanks to Tavernier Creek Marina, the Bokor family, Becky Bohnstedt, Joe Biondoletti, Jaime!
Visit their website to pre-register at nicksheahan.com
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.