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NOT HER FIRST RODEO

Gina Nesloney

Gina Nesloney

Amarillo cattle drive inspired popular isle fishing tournament

When Gina Nesloney moved her fishing tournament to Galveston in 2013, it wasn’t her first rodeo.

Nesloney’s popular Redfish Rodeo, which marked its 21st year, is an all-women event that got its start in Rockport, eventually moving to South Padre Island and now happily ensconced on Galveston Island.

Thirty-two teams — four women to a team — participate in this two-day, guided-only tournament each September.

Nesloney’s idea for a fishing tournament came out of a 1993 cattle drive in Amarillo.

“I was one of 23 women, and I got the inspiration that I could take this same concept and create a weekend adventure for corporate women and introduce them to the sport of bay fishing,” she said.

With her marketing and event-planning experience, Nesloney hit the ground running and has not stopped since.

Upon graduating from Texas State University in 1979 with a degree in Recreational Administration, she worked at various jobs and eventually found herself in Seabrook while going through a divorce. After stints as a cocktail waitress, activity director and flight scheduler for a helicopter company, she began Gina’s Special Events, which paved the way for securing contracts with petrochemical companies, political campaigns, fundraising events and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Along the way, Nesloney found time to create Redfish Rodeo and eventually incorporated her business as Redfish Rodeo Productions LLC, which organizes events for men and women who enjoy bay fishing and the outdoors.

All of this seems to come naturally for Nesloney, who was always putting on plays as a young girl.

“My success comes from never throwing in the towel,” she said. “Failures are only experiments that didn’t work out, but at least you tried. I’ve attempted several things in my life that didn’t work, but just moved on to the next idea.”

She also has a sense of humor. When asked what she would tell her younger self, she said: “Not to get a boob job and to save the money for a brow lift.”

Nesloney makes her home in Bastrop, Texas; she enjoys its small-town charm.

“I spent weekends at my grandparents’ farm in Livingston growing up,” she said. “It was my first experience with country life and I loved it. That’s why I built a home in Bastrop a few years ago — to go back to the country.”

Nesloney looks forward to many more years of organizing the Redfish Rodeo, and will begin a new tournament for couples in Lake Charles in 2016.

Her philosophy?

“Never let anyone or anything break your spirit,” she said.