(Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, June 03, 2013 5:45 PM
The state high school rodeo championships are back at Burton Coliseum, and they will be for some time to come.
According to Louisiana High School Rodeo Association officials, the group has agreed to come back for the next five years as well.
“We really like the facilities here,” said Brenda Shope, LHSRA State Secretary. “It was great last year and we are hoping for better things this week.”
The state rodeo championships is the latest high school titles beginning won in the area.
Sulphur already plays host to all seven LHSAA softball state championships and four baseball with more expected to come. It is also the host city to the state swim championships.
Last year the rodeo in Lake Charles, which is not associated with the LHSAA, was a big hit with the LHSRA.
“What is good here is most people stay on site, which makes things run easier,” said Shope.
A total of 164 competitors are expected to take part in 10 events over the next five days, with state champs being crowned Saturday night. The top four finishers in each event will be rewarded with a trip to the national finals in 12 events.
All championship events begin at 6:30 p.m. each night starting with bareback riding and ending with bull riding.
“We have a lot of talented people out here this weekend,” said Shope.
Leading the way will be Mia Manzanares of Opelousas Catholic High. Manzanares is not only the top qualifier in her event, she is the defending national champion.
Their are four local kids who head into the championships as leaders in their events.
Sulphur’s Jace Gilbert is tops in the tie down, Kinder’s Lanie Courville leads the field in the breakaway, Joseph Denison of Iowa it the top qualifier in steer wrestling and Grand Lake’s Marle Mudd is the favorite in pole bending.
Before all competition there is a host of events at Burton surrounding the rodeo until Friday.
• What: Louisiana High School Rodeo Association championships
• Where: Burton Coliseum
• When: Tonight-Saturday
• Start: 6:30 p.m.
• Bareback Riding
• Barrel Racing
• Saddle Bronc
• Tie Down
• Steer Wrestling
• Goat Tying
• Team Roping
• Pole Bending
• Bull Riding