Louisiana High School Finals Rodeo
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SULPHUR — Hackberry cowboy Jacques Trahan has won many awards during his career, but there was one that had eluded him until Wednesday.
Trahan won the tie-down roping state championship, holding off last year's champion Brad Hesnor of Sacred Heart-Ville Platte with a strong finish at the Louisiana High School Finals Rodeo at the West Cal Arena.
"I feel good," Trahan said. "I have been chasing this saddle since my sixth-grade year, and I finally got it."
Trahan, who was the runner-up last year, got off to a shaky start in the first go-round Tuesday morning with a time of 17.19 seconds. He dropped time in the second go with a 15.08 and led Hesnor and Sulphur High's Hazen Martin by 6.4 seconds heading into the final round. Trahan shined under pressure with a 10.8-second run, the second-best time of the short go Wednesday. He placed second in the average and beat Hesnor by 6.7 points, 72.3-65.6.
"As everyone knows, I had a little trouble in the first round, but I came back," Trahan said. "I was leading by six points and fourth in the average, so I just had to get my time down and it all worked out for me."
Martin won the short go with a 10.3 and finished third with 62 points.
Trahan came close to winning the All-Around Cowboy title but was edged by Hesnor by 6.4 points.
"Brad is a good competitor and I can't take nothing away from him," Trahan said. "He is good, and he deserves it."
Trahan's state title was one of five for Southwest Louisiana cowboys and cowgirls.
Welsh's Kylie Conner won the breakaway roping title, while Iowa's Clayton Sharpe won the boys cutting state title.
Iowa's Kinley Leblanc was one of two double-winners. She took home state titles in girls cutting, beating Sacred Heart's Millie Frey by 3.8 points, and reined cow horse.
Central School's Hooter Murphy won the barrel racing and pole bending titles and ran away with the All-Around Cowgirl award with 282.2 points while Conner was the Reserve All-Around Cowgirl with 156.4 points.
Southwest Louisiana had six runners-up in Welsh's Coy Hebert (saddle bronc), Conner (barrel racing), Iowa High's Alyssa Gary (goat tying) and Sulphur's Kolby Stelly (bull riding, boys cutting) and team ropers Hazen and Gatlin Martin.
The Martin's tied for second in team roping with Luke Dubois (Church Point) and Ty Aymond (Pine Prairie HS) and only 1.2 points behind state champions Caleb Caro (Thibodaux) and Coy Baxter (Centerville Academy).
Southwest Louisiana put on a solid performance in the short go with the top time or score in seven of 13 events. Conner went 16.013 seconds in barrel racing but was edged by Murphy, 63-60 for the state title. Grand Lake's Bailey Mudd shared the top time in breakaway roping with Murphy at 2.4 seconds, while Bell City's Jude Leonards had the best steer wrestling time at 5.95 seconds. Trahan and Kasey Busby (Hicks HS) had the lone sub-10 second time in the team roping short go at 8.7 seconds, and Iowa's Clayton Sharpe and Leblanc claimed round wins in boys cutting (70) and reined cow horse (74), respectively.
The top four in each event advanced to the National High Schools Finals Rodeo at the Lancaster Event Complex in Lincoln, Nebraska, July 19-25.