Parish rodeo kids holding own

Mary-Glenn Smith
Bull rider Caleb Lavigne is congratulated by professional bull rider and fellow Prairieville native, Jacob O’Mara, after making a 78 ride to win round one of Louisiana High School Rodeo Association Finals.

  Ascension Parish was well represented during the first round of the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association Finals early this week at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center. 

Randi Robert of Gonzales finished first in the pole bending competition with a time of 19.637.

Robert is also in the lead for the girl’s all-around title.

Caleb Lavigne of Prairieville won the round in the bull riding with a score of 78 points.

Lavigne was the last cowboy to ride on Tuesday night, wrapping up the first round of the LHSRA finals. 

Going into the ride, Lavigne knew to win the round he would have to be higher than 75 points to pass Taylor Broussard, who had ridden earlier in the week and was leading the round.

“I had seen the bull a couple of times, but never been on him before,” Lavigne said about bull #132 of Bergeron and Guidry Rodeo Company. “I just knew I needed to ride him.”

When the gate opened the bull came out, went a couple of jumps and turned back left into Lavigne’s hand. 

The bull made a couple of rounds before jumping out of the spin and going back to the right as Lavigne spurred him.

When the buzzer sounded, signaling the end of the eight-second ride, Lavigne jumped off of the bull with a ride good enough to take home the first place buckle for round one.

“The ride felt pretty good, the bull was a real good one to have ‘cause he went to the left into my hand,” Lavigne said after the ride. “It all just felt real good.

Lavigne didn’t make that many rodeos during the regular rodeo season and came into the finals ranked 31st in the standings by cumulative points.

“I feel pretty confident now,” he said.  “My confidence was kind of low, but now it’s boosted up pretty good and that should help me throughout the week.”

Lavigne, 19, started riding bulls just a few years ago when he was 16-years-old.

“I had some friends that rode, so I thought I would go to the practice pens in Livingston and give it try,” said Lavigne, who competes in open rodeos when not at a high school event.

“That’s really how I got into riding.”

Next year, Lavigne plans to buy his PRCA permit and begin rodeoing professionally and hopes to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo one day.

Tyler Waguespack of Gonzales, finished 5th in the steer wrestling for round one and 10th in the tie-down roping.

Round two of the LHSRA finals will wrap up on Friday night and on Saturday night the top 15 contestants will compete in the short-go round.

All performances begin at 7 p.m. at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, Arena D.

After Saturday night’s performance, the top four in each event will earn the right to advance to the National High School Rodeo Association (NHSRA) Finals in Gillette, Wyoming  on July 18-24.

LHSRA Finals round one results: Barrel Racing: 1.Darbi Shope-16.154, 2. Carli Hebert- 16.279, 3. Emily Arceneaux-16.332 Pole Bending: 1. Randi Robert-19.637, 2. Darby Shope-19.832, 3. Lauren Little-20. 370 Breakaway Roping: 1. Lanie Courville- 2.70, 2. Becca Dupont- 2.80, 3. Lakeyn Thomas- 2.84 Goat Tying: 1. Kayla Foster- 7.76, 2. Kylie Frey- 8.45, 3. Kirsten Smith- 8.64 Tie-Down Roping: 1. Braxton Laughlin- 9.40, 2. Will Guillory- 9.43, 3. Kyle King- 10.78 Steer Wrestling: 1. Jake Hebert- 4.95, 2. Chance Trahan- 5.02, 3. Rowdy Parrot- 6.12 Bareback riding: 1. Hunter White- 74, 2/3. Mason Laviolette- 71, Justin Gray- 71 Saddle Bronc Riding: 1. Mason Laviolette- 75, 2. Jake Hebert- 71, 3. Jared Begnaud- 70 Bull Riding: Caleb Lavigne- 78, Taylor Broussard- 75.

Tyler Waguespack of Gonzales, ties his calf in the third performance of the LHSRA finals at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center Tuesday night.