OUTDOOR CORNER: The tale of two rodeos:?EASL and Blind River

Lyle Johnson
These kids took home the hardware and a few bikes at the 2011 East Ascension Sportsman’s League Kids Rodeo.

The weekend of Aug. 5-6 played host to two very popular fishing rodeos. The first and longest running was the 51st East Ascension Sportsman's League Kid’s Fishing Rodeo. The second one was the 25th Blind River Bar Garfish Rodeo that began on Saturday afternoon and wound up on Sunday afternoon. Both events were well attended by participants and spectators alike.

Twin Lakes Mobile Estates was the site for the East Ascension Sportsman's League Kid’s Fishing Rodeo. As primary sponsor, the facility welcomed 211 youngsters aged 2 through 14 and their parent or adult guardians braved the heat to once again make this outing one of the most popular in the state.

The lines formed early at the registration table as eager young anglers couldn’t wait to dunk some crickets or worms in the two lakes in anticipation of catching whatever bit their bait.

Ditty bags supplied by Eatel that were loaded with stuff, were given to each registered contestant. The contents included fishing tackle that was provided by Berkley/Gulp, Pure Fishing, Strike King Lures, V & M Lures, Yamaha Motors, Stanley Jigs, C J Lures and Tru-Turn Hooks just added to the celebratory atmosphere.

Soon enough, the horn went off at 7:00 and it was on. Shrieks of delight could soon be heard as kids began to pull fish out of the water. Soon after, volunteers headed around the lakes to distribute boxes of donuts provided by Riverside Barber Shop.

The fishing continued for two hours, then at 9:00 all the anglers headed for the weigh-in to tally the count and feast on hot dogs and jambalaya until the award ceremony got under way. Then it came time to award the trophies for all that hard work.

The Biggest Fish Overall prize was taken by Lexi Cambre with a .68 catfish. The Most Fish for Girls was Mikaylah Bordelon with a total of 41 while Tyler Williams took the honors for boys with 51.

Age Group 2-4; Most Fish (Girls) Carlyle Runfalo—6. Most Fish (Boys) Kace Poche—17.

Biggest Fish Halee Cacbre .36. Age Group 5-7 Most Fish (Girls) Sydney Williams—32. Most Fish (Boys) Caden Carnaggio. Biggest Fish Kyler Broussard .48. Age Group 8-10

Most Fish (Girls) Elizabeth Kennison—21.  Most Fish (Boys) Grant Bourque—36.  Biggest Fish Brayden Carter .34. Age Group 11-14 Most Fish (Girls) Haley Fontenot—15 Most Fish (Boys) Dustin Decoteau—36 Biggest Fish Brant Smiley .34.

It takes a team effort to hold an event like this, so kudos go out to the rodeo chairmen, Carlton Savoy and Ryan Schilling along with all the volunteers that helped out. Sponsors carry the rest of the load and the list is long; Motiva Rec Club, Shell Pipeline, Marathon Petroleum, Bobby Taylor Ent, Veron’s Meats, Tommy Martinez, Ascension Paper Products, Benton Equipment, Steve’s Reel Repair, CCA Louisiana, St. John KC Council, CF Industries, LSU Bass Club, Mike Lambert, Main Stream Marketing, Mustad Hooks, Dennis Cullen and Fluker Cricket Farm. Thanks to all.

On the same weekend, the 25th Blind River Bar Garfish Rodeo took place with a record number 64 boats competing in the two day event. The contestants left rodeo headquarters on Saturday at noon and began to set the jugs.

On early Sunday morning, the boats returned to the water to retrieve the jugs that had no fish and find the ones that had fish on them. That’s when all the excitement begins. You see, when they first get hooked, they expend a lot of energy pulling against that “jug” that floats. But soon, they tire and just swim along without resisting.

Then the fisherman comes along, the garfish has all its energy back and is rested up. When the fisherman handles the fish; mayhem ensues and the fish usually has to be subdued with some kind of force. After all the jugs are accounted for and the fish have been tended to, it’s back to Blind River Bar for the weigh-in.

Nearly 1,500 spectators watched as several tons of garfish were brought to the scales. When the dust settled, Bud Thompson from Manchac was crowned Grand Prize Winner for the Biggest Gar with a 103.2 pound Gar and pocketed $2,500 as well.

Thompson also took 1st Place Overall Weight with 10 fish that weighed 493.1 pound and another $1,550.

Second place overall weight went to Wesley Gregoire with a 10 gar limit that weighed 370 pound. and won $930. Third place overall weight to Ronnie Leblanc with a 368.8 pound 10 fish limit and he pocketed a cool $620. Heath Savoy took the coveted Big Trash Fish with a 27.7 pound catfish and collected $305.

Individuals who assisted in Weighing, Skinning and Frying Garfish as well as cooking Jambalaya and many other activities: Damon Smith, Travis Vernon, Brett Bell, Anthony Gregoire, Melvin Smith, “The Texas Bunch,” Debra Bell, Keno, Ronnie Braud, Jacko, Doug Palmer, Robert Hall and Mr. Glen Martin.

Big time thanks goes out to all the sponsors; Val’s Marina, Plumbing Solutions, Spin City Laundry, Head of Island Storage, Lamendola Construction, Majestic Metals, LenCo Finance, La Beau Day Spa & Salon, Diversion Underwater Fish Lights, Island Audio, Sue’s Café and Veron’s Meat Co.

Thanks goes out to the Local Livingston Parish Law Enforcement who helped to keep the event safe for all of those who attended! Also, a Special Overall Thanks to Livingston Parish President Mike Grimmer and the office of the Parish President.

The fishermen that I spoke to can’t wait for next year’s event that promises to be even larger than this one. Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God bless you.

Bud Thompson of Manchac earned a $2,500 check for catching a 103.2 pound alligator gar.