The Dolphin Rodeo began in 2008 in honor of Nick Sheahan. Nick died in 2004 tragically of shallow water black out in a diving accident in the Bahamas. He enjoyed fishing, diving and life in the Fabulous Florida Keys. He would have graduated from Coral Shores Senior High in 2006.
Tavernier Creek Marina wanted to bring back their past Dolphin Tournament, so we had the opportunity to bring it back as “The Nick Sheahan Dolphin Rodeo.” We are also able to use the tournament to promote the dangers of “Shallow Water Blackout” and how to save someone in the situation.
The Dolphin Rodeo happens the first weekend in May opening up the dolphin fishing season. The community comes together in support of the event. All the proceeds benefit scholarships for graduating seniors of Coral Shores High School.
The kick-off party/captains meeting offers great food by local restaurants as well as beverages and live local entertainment. There is a silent auction with items donated by many local businesses such as artwork, jewelry, gift certificates and more as well a a 50/50 raffle. The event is also preceded by a bike raffle, which is donated to us by Key Largo Bike & Adventures. Raffles and give aways for registered anglers also make for a fun evening as well. The actual tournament is a two day event with weigh in and awards ceremony. Cash prizes and trophies for Adults for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Juniors anglers receive trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. We also offer prizes for largest wahoo & tuna. The awards event also offers food, beverages.
In order to qualify for the Nick Sheahan Scholarship, students complete an application acquired through the CAPS counselor at Coral Shores High School (please refer to their link). The board and founders then meet to determine the recipients of the scholarship. Usually 5-6 students are chosen after all applications are reviewed.
Giving back to the community and especially offering opportunities to his peers would have been the way Nick would have wanted to be remembered. This tournament is a wonderful way to keep his memory alive and bring people together to celebrate the life he loved so much.
Nick Sheahan passed away in July 2004 at the age of 16. He died in a diving accident in the Bahamas. Nick touched so many people and was very special to many of us. We wanted to keep his memory alive and started the scholarship fund. Nick would have graduated in 2006 so we did several fundraisers raising money. We gave away $8000 in 2006 to four of his closest friends. They all went to college or trade school. Many of nicks friends come to our tournament every year to either help out or fish the tournament.
In 2008 we had the opportunity to take over a fishing tournament that was once a big tournament at Tavernier Creek Marina. We named it the “Nick Sheahan Dolphin Rodeo”. The Nick Sheahan Annual Fishing tournament is now part of the Florida Keys Tourist and Development Council of the Florida Keys. The Nick Sheahan Dolphin Rodeo raises money to give back to the community. The money is raised to give students scholarships to help them get started in college. Since 2006, numerous students have been awarded this scholarship, and it has helped them out tremendously. The Nick Sheahan Dolphin Rodeo will always be around to help the graduating kids of the community, and the Sheahan name will always be known forever.
In 2014 a 10 year memorial was held for Nick Sheahan. It was held at Casa Mar on the creekside. We had food, music, games, kayaking. it was a beautiful day and a great time. A lot of nicks friends came home for this event and the support of the community was overwhelming. A video was created by Mike Govea and can be viewed on the website.