When the rodeo was founded, 84 years ago, tarpon abounded in Mobile Bay. Tarpon lodges were sprinkled all about the Alabama coast and its estuaries — Weeks Bay, Bon Secour River and Coden. Industrial and sedimentary pollution steadily degraded Mobile Bay for most of the 20th century. Mullet schools, once so thick in the area that old-timers swore they could walk on them, virtually disappeared, and tarpon fishery naturally declined. In the past 30 years, however, fortunes have improved for the bay, and with that, so has the fishing for silver kings.