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New Red Snapper Fishing Tournament to benefit Okaloosa County’s Artificial Reef Program

The inaugural ‘Livin’ Right Red Snapper Rodeo,’ a community-oriented fishing tournament, is set to take place in Destin-Fort Walton Beach from June 16-18, 2023.  “It’s the first year of Livin’ Right […]

The inaugural ‘Livin’ Right Red Snapper Rodeo,’ a community-oriented fishing tournament, is set to take place in Destin-Fort Walton Beach from June 16-18, 2023. 

  • The tournament, the first of its kind, is the brainchild of Livin’ Right Real Estate in Fort Walton Beach that will benefit the Okaloosa County Artificial Reef Program.

“It’s the first year of Livin’ Right Real Estate putting on the tournament and we hope it catches on with the wider community so we can build more support as time goes on,” said Matt McGee, the owner of Livin’ Right Real Estate. He added that the timing of the event, at the beginning of the snapper season, would allow even recreational anglers to participate and show their support for local conservation efforts.

“We’re going snapper fishing anyways, so we might as well join this tournament which will help put out more reefs so that we can fish for more snapper,” McGee added.

The Okaloosa County Artificial Reef Program, funded by grants, private funds and tourist tax dollars, is an essential part of maintaining the rich marine biodiversity of the region and supporting the local fishing industry. However, the program also relies on community buy-in and private partner collaboration, as we saw with the recent deployment of 38 prefabricated artificial reefs. 

  • The tournament will rely on community sponsorships to help make it a success. The Emerald Coast Reef Association was recently reestablished and will be the recipient of the proceeds for a future Okaloosa County Artificial Reef project.
Deployment of the sailing vessel CORDONAZO (Okaloosa Coastal Resource Team)

To incentivize sponsorship, the tournament will offer various benefits to sponsors and participants, including the unique opportunity to have their own private artificial reefs deployed as part of the program.

  • Sponsors can choose from several sponsorship levels, ranging from the ‘Ambassador’ level at $100, up to the ‘Grand Snapper’ level at $5,000. The higher-level sponsorships, including the ‘Grand Snapper,’ ‘Emerald,’ and ‘Gold,’ will offer private artificial reefs with varying degrees of exclusivity.

The tournament will also offer participants the opportunity to compete in the Red Snapper Rodeo for a $300 entry fee, which includes a Captain Swag Bag, two tournament t-shirts, and two tickets to a fish fry at the awards ceremony.

Combination entries are available for those wishing to contribute more to the Artificial Reef Program. The ‘Gulf Reef Habitat Livin Right Benefactor’ package, priced at $4,500, offers the highest level of contribution, including a private Red Snapper Reef deployed in the Gulf of Mexico, and a Livin Right Habitat Dock Reef installed at a local dock of choice.

Alex Fogg/Coastal Resource Team/Okaloosa County

The ‘Livin’ Right Red Snapper Rodeo’ represents a significant opportunity for the local community to engage in a fun-filled fishing tournament while supporting an essential conservation initiative.

McGee stated, “Our tournament is designed for both the sponsorships and the participants to be able to get both private reefs deployed as well as contribute to the County’s larger reef projects such as the sinking of large vessels off our coast.”

“We’re truly grateful to Livin’ Right Real Estate for this innovative Red Snapper Rodeo,” said Alex Fogg, Okaloosa Coastal Resource Manager. “It’s encouraging to see local organizations actively investing in our mission to build a robust artificial reef system that serves both marine life and our local community.”

More information on the tournament and sponsorship opportunities can be found at

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Community Comments

“Agreed…that was our favorite spot for locals to go…under the Marler bridge…to swim and watch the boat traffic. Was beautiful!”
“I have heard this before but without the details. Thanks.”
“That was a good story it brought back a lot of good memories. I lived there about 35 years ago met some good people ate a lot of good food...”
“Please open our bridge under neath the Destin bridge please we grew up here only for the locals this is crazy honestly the locals really have Nowhere they can go...”
“We must do whatever it takes to remove the current sheriff. He is a failed leader, no doubt about it nothing but an excuse maker, totally incompetent in over his...”
“...and food for enjoyment! Big smile.”
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“Congratulations on giving back to your community. This is an awesome need when young people are returning to school. Blessings over blessings to you this upcoming season.”
“I’m not at all a sociallist or liberal. I just want safety for myself and others. Ron Desantis pledged money for this. I was refrencing Europe in regards to e-bike...”