Block and Bridle Rodeo gives LSU students opportunity for competition
The 75th annual LSU Block and Bridle Open and Student Rodeos will be fun for students, participants and spectators alike, according to rodeo manager and LSU animal science student Hannah Thibodaux.
In additional to traditional events such as bull riding and barrel racing, the student rodeo includes nontraditional activities, among them wild cow milking. This misleadingly named activity involves a team of three boys trying to pull a hair from a steer’s tail.
Some of the activities taking place in the student rodeo are traditional events modified for participants who don’t ride horses. Steer wrestling (which is included in the open rodeo) normally involves specially trained horses. During the student rodeo, participants can try chute dogging, in which a cowboy or cowgirl tries to wrestle a steer to the ground from a standing position rather than on horseback.
“We’re hoping to encourage students to just grab some friends and go (participate in the rodeo),” Thibodaux said.
The student rodeo is open to LSU students around the state, including those at the Alexandria, Eunice and Shreveport campuses. LSU alumni can exhibition, which means they can pay an entry fee and participate but not receive prizes.
“It’s a way for them to come back and meet the current students,” Thibodaux said.
Prizes for students include monogrammed jackets, ice chests, bags and backpacks. The overall best cowboy or cowgirl will receive a trophy belt buckle.
LSU chemical engineering junior Hannah Bergeron won the title in last year’s rodeo and plans to compete again this time.
“I like that even though it’s a big university in the middle of the city, it still has an agricultural side of it,” she said.
Though Bergeron grew up around horses, before attending LSU she had done only some team roping. She owns a horse and rides whenever she gets a chance. She also participates in traditional rodeos put on by the Cajun Rodeo Association and does Extreme Ranch Rodeo.
“You have a team of four and do things like roping a steer. It’s more like real life situations,” she explained.
Bergeron will team up with industrial engineering student Grant Smith for some of the events at the Block and Bridle Rodeo.
Besides Smith, most of the LSU students she knows don’t share her interest.
“They kind of look at me strange when I tell them what I do. But I really love it,” Bergeron said.
Students can register by bringing their LSU ID and fee to the rodeo between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. the day of the event.
Call-in registration for the open rodeo is from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11. The phone numbers are (337) 230-9765 and (502) 460-1735. Prices vary depending on the event.
Even children can participate by competing in the calf scramble. Kids 12 and younger will try to be the first to grab the ribbon from a calf’s tail.
Children can also attend the rodeo for free if they bring a new toy or teddy bear for Braveheart Children in Need Inc.
The organization provides booksacks with school supplies as well as toys for children who are displaced from their homes or foster homes, Thibodaux said. They also collect Christmas presents for children in foster homes.
Even though Braveheart is not an agriculture-related organization, the partnership has been very positive, Thibodaux said.
“(Braveheart board member) Linda (Montagnino) has been so good to work with. It pushes our club members to get out of their box and go wrap presents or blow up basketballs for kids,” Thibodaux said.
A portion of the proceeds from the rodeo will benefit the organization. Some of the money is also used to help the students in the Block and Bridle Club attend seminars and conferences. The club is a student service organization that puts on petting zoos for different organizations and events and participates in livestock shows. Members also attend national conventions such as the National Cattlemen’s Convention.
T-shirts sold at the event will represent both Braveheart and LSU. The Block and Bridle logo is on the front and a steer wrestler decorates the back. A red heart on the cowboy signifies Braveheart. The shirts will also feature the theme of this year’s rodeo: “Life’s a Rodeo, Don’t Let it Throw You.”
“They look amazing,” Thibodaux said.
Programs, food and soft drinks will also be sold at the rodeo. Cheese nachos, barbecue burgers, sausage po-boys, jambalaya and candy will be provided by the Block and Bridle Club.
A silent auction with LSU memorabilia, tack, wreaths and gift certificates donated from rodeo sponsors will be held during both shows.