Where are you from? What brought you here and where are you now?
I’m originally from Houston, but graduated from high school in the small East Texas town of Livingston. After graduating from Texas State University in 1979, I moved to Rockport, married, divorced and moved to Seabrook in the early 80’s.
In 1995 I was in Kemah working for Sealink Helicopters at the now closed Houston Gulf Airport, and started my own special events company along with the Redfish Rodeo. There were two separate phone lines, one for Sealink, and one for Gina’s Special Events. After five years in business, I landed a lucrative contract with Texas Parks & Wildlife and relocated closer to Austin, where I currently live
During your exciting career what job prepared you the most for what you are doing today?
When I look back over my professional life, no one job prepared me for this, but one person did, Sharon Ward. When I was a third grader, I loved putting on shows and pageants in my neighborhood. Miss Ward’s creative music background taught me a lot, and she fed my passion for the production side of entertainment.
How did you get started in fishing tournaments?
The idea for the RRT started in 1993 after attending a cattle drive with 23 other women in Amarillo. Two years later I started Redfish Rodeo in Rockport, Texas with a group of 24.
In 2000, Redfish Rodeo relocated to South Padre Island with 36 teams, and last year Galveston became the home for Redfish Rodeo with 38. This year, we have 42 teams with 168 women from around the country. Mostly are Texas gals from the Austin and Houston areas. Big plans are in the works for the future of Redfish Rodeo and our goal for Galveston is 50 teams, if we have support from the guide community.
Did any of these women fish in your first tournament 20 years ago?
Only two of the original 24 women are still fishing the Redfish Rodeo, Janice Greene Hurst, from Austin, and Dawn Messina, from Kemah. Janice’s team of four sisters, known as the “Greene Girls” from Smithville, actually have been fishing as a team for 19 years.
If you could have dinner and drinks with anyone, who would that be and why?
People inspire me. Strong women encourage me and smart men motivate me. If I could have an hour with one person, it would be Barbara Corcoran from the TV series, “Shark Tank.” She could take the Redfish Rodeo to places I never imagined. No doubt about it.
Favorite book or movie?
My favorite books are: Selections From Gift From the Sea by the late Anne Morrow Lindberger. It should be required reading for every graduating senior, girls and guy alike. The second is Three Cups of Tea by Greg Morrison. My all time favorite movie is Auntie Mame with RosalindRussell.
What is it about this tournament that separates it from other fishing tournaments?
Over the past 20 years, there has been a lot of new women’s fishing tournaments up and down the Texas coast , each one unique in its own right. What sets the RRT Redfish Rodeo apart is that it’s invite only. It’s also the only 2-day guide-draw. Guides are our biggest expense with over $52,800 guided division, but this tournament is guided only with a shotgun start. No other tournament does this. The entry fee includes two days of tournament fishing with licensed charter guides, seated dinners, breakfasts and lunches and a 64-page glossy magazine profiling all 168 women with custom team sponsor ads.
RRT is the only tournament that holds the bragging rights for having a Texas governor fish in a ladies tournament since Gov. Ann Richards participated in 2004 and, to our surprise, asked to speak at the Saturday dinner. It truly was a highlight in the RRT’s history.