50th Annual Walleye Rodeo draws over 1,000 fishermen and kids
This past weekend, the 50th Annual Walleye Rodeo was held here in our small community of Canton, Ok.
The tournament was first held May 9-12, 1968. Many out of towners are often confused, thinking the name refers to an actual rodeo, not a fishing tournament. According to the Walleye Rodeo’s website history page, “The name was chosen because the Department of Wildlife chose Canton Lake as a good location to start a new habitat for the Walleye Pike, an exotic northern fish. The word Rodeo was chosen because the natural schooling of the Walleye resembles a herd of cattle. When one Walleye strays from the school or “herd”, another Walleye will ‘round him up’ and return him to the herd.”
The tournament is the oldest and largest fishing tournament in the state. With such a long history, there are bound to be some long fishing stories to go along with it. One such story mentioned on the websites history page tells of the decision before the first Rodeo to tag a $1,000.00 walleye for the grand prize. That walleye, dubbed Wally Walleye after the official logo of the event, eluded fishermen for ten years before being caught in 1977, by John Foley of Woodward.
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