Always there: Touchets ride to state championships with late grandfather in mind

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2023

SULPHUR — If ever there was a time for siblings Lane and Lydia Touchet to hang up their saddles it was 11 days ago.

That was when one of their biggest supporters, their grandfather Jacob Touchet tragically died along with his passenger, Susan Diane Trahan, in a motorcycle-vehicle accident in Jeff Davis Parish.

But the siblings honored his memory on Tuesday by winning three state titles on the second day of the Louisiana High School Finals Rodeo at the West Cal Arena.

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“It did kind of put a little bit of weight because I really didn’t get to ride much this week,” Lydia said. “But being here and getting to ride and knowing that he is watching over us riding and really just wants us to do good, it feels really good to be here.”

Lydia claimed the reined cow horse state and cutting championship, while Lane won cutting for the second time in three years.

“He always came and supported us,” Lane said of his grandfather. “It definitely boosted my confidence, knowing that he would want me to do good. I tried my best. He supported us with everything he had.”

All three state championships came down to the wire.

Lydia held a one-point lead in reined cow horse and 1.5 in cutting. She won the final round of cutting with a score of 73.5 points and took the average title (216.5 over three rounds) to edge Lakeside’s Clara Robinson 43.5-40.6. In reined cow horse, she slipped past Parkview homeschooler Laney Walker, 30.2-28.5. She was the runner-up in reined cow horse in 2022 and third in cutting.

“It is wild, I will tell you that,” Lydia said. “It was super, super close in the cutting.

“When I got out of the pin and I knew I had it, I just said go in there and have a clean cut, and he did just that. For us to have two good runs back-to-back was amazing.”

After his horse was injured on Saturday, Lane had to switch to his sister’s cutting horse at the last minute and had a no-score in the second go-round, but his second-place ride (71 points) in the short-go was just enough to beat Grant Lake’s Bobby Constance, who won the title last year, by .8 points, 46.85-46.05.

“It definitely feels great,” Lane said. “It was a bit of an up-and-down year, but I came out on top at the end. It is a good feeling. The first two rounds didn’t go well, but I know he would still be proud of me for winning. I had to hurry up and get on another horse. I didn’t really have time to get with it, so it was a little rough.”

The duo qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette, Wyoming, July 16-22.

The LHSFR will continue with the first go-round of all other events on at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday. The second go-round is at 10 a.m. and. 7 p.m. Friday and the short go-round is at 5 p.m. Saturday.