History of TIFT: How the tournament’s first year predicted its 80th

By GAIGE DAVILA

Port Isabel-South Padre Press


In the June 1934 edition of Rio Grande Valleybased Monty’s Monthly News magazine, James Addison Hockaday, or “J.A.,” a Missouri-born physician who moved to Port Isabel, described the philosophy behind the first Rio Grande Valley Fishing Rodeo, two months before the tournament’s start:

“At our front door flows some of the world’s best fishing waters,” Hockaday said. “How little we of the Valley appreciate it! It is one of our greatest assets and what little effort is expanded to capitalize it!”

Written six years after Port Isabel established its municipal government, in 1928, this “Rodeo” was Hockaday attempting to change not only sport fishing in the area, but its commerce as well. To Hockaday, the tournament would bring consistent tourism to Port Isabel. “Not until (the tournament’s end),” Hockaday said, “can we tell the world about our fishing, and prove our statements.”

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