The Cula Roja Fishing Tournament began in 1973 when four young, good-looking, roustabouts decided that since they were too poor to fish in the Poco Bueno Fishing Tournament, that they would just start their own event. They would make this the poor man’s fishing tournament born in a trailer house at 8th and Harrison.
So it was that the first weekend after the 4th of July, 1973 (one week before the Poco Bueno) Stan Schultz, Ronnie and Phil Willenborg and Jay “Rocky” Kellough, organized and hosted the first Cula Roja Fishing Tournament. That very first year, the event brought only twelve participants, mostly guys from Pearland , Texas where for the most part they could be found in the local watering holes around Pearland, bragging about the one that got away.
The original tournament was offshore fishing ONLY, with categories consisted for Ling, King Fish and Spanish Mackerel. As the tournament grew, they added the inshore category which now comprises the largest portion of the Cula Roja Fishing Tournament.
Later, in 1984 upon completion of a private home on Cherry Street , the boys moved the Cula Roja headquarters from that old trailer house. Around that same time, Ronnie and Phil went off to seek new adventures…and Tom Guss was brought into fold.
Rocky Stan Tom
Held under make-shift tents on Cherry Street , Cula Roja finally grew to be such a world class event, it was relocated to the prestigious Port O’Connor Community Center. At first, all of the cooking was done by volunteers with the fish donated by the participants. Later, a professional catering service was hired to feed the hungry anglers.
From the first twelve fishermen in 1973, Cula Roja has had as many as four hundred participants. The tournament was restricted to Men ONLY until 2005 when forced by wives and female fisher-people around Texas , to include women as well in the competition.
Each year the familiar faces return to spend that July weekend with their fishing buddies. A few of those old guys, like ole’ Joe Gumina have been there from the beginning and just keep coming back. However, as happens to all good things, in 2009 Stan Schultz went on to the big fishing hole in the sky. Jay “Rocky” Kellough and Tom Guss decided that it was time to pass the fishing rod on to the next generation of “red ass” fishermen, Steve Gumina and Tab Kellough. And so the story continues...