Rodeo heading back to West Point

Published 11:00 am Friday, February 25, 2022

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The rodeo is back in West Point this March 11 and 12 after three years away. It will be at 8 p.m. both nights and the gates will open at 6 p.m. All proceeds will go towards the First Responders Crisis Fund, which benefits members of the community who may need help covering different expenses like medical care. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children, and it will be located on 418 2nd Avenue.

Sgt. Matthew Oubre with LaGrange Fire Department said the rodeo began after several firefighters of the community were burned in a Labor Day house fire.

“We had four guys that were severely injured and it got us thinking,” Oubre said.

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Oubre said part of the inspiration was because of his father who is a rodeo contractor.

“I’m a firefighter here, but my dad is a rodeo contractor. We put on rodeos all over the southeast. I rodeo myself, all over the United States, up in Canada and all that,” he said. “We came up with the idea of a rodeo to raise money for not only firefighters, but for all first responders in times of need.”

LFD Administrative Assistant Rachel Crandall said this fund is necessary for when first responders find themselves with expenses they cannot afford.

“Some of these people that have these things happen, what do [they] do when [they] can’t earn a paycheck? That’s basically what this is for,” Crandall said.

Oubre highlighted that this fund was needed despite the fact that community members try to raise funds on their own.

“A lot of people were doing fundraisers, selling T-shirts, and we just thought, ‘we put on rodeos, we see the amount of money these rodeos can raise’. We’ve put on a rodeo here in LaGrange dating back to the late 70s,” Oubre said.

Oubre said his father has been trying a few different venues, and they both knew Troup County was a good place to hold a rodeo.

“People enjoy going to rodeos, especially after COVID when everything was shut down. Rodeos eventually started back, and we’re against the norm, but we were having rodeos and every one I went to [had] packed crowds. Everybody was ready to get out of the house,” Oubre said.

Crandall agreed and said the event will be family friendly with a lot of the same sponsors as 2019.

“People can bring their whole families out to it. It’s not just for adults. Kids can come out and enjoy and watch. It’s something that people can get their whole family together and do as a family,” Crandall said.

“We have a lot of the same sponsors and a lot of new sponsors have come forward to support this event because it is for a really good cause.”

Stewart Smith with the Troup County Sheriff’s Office said a few of their men and women will be out to show their support.

“We’ve got people that are going to be out there volunteering for [it]. I’m going to be out there and a few more are going to be out there,” Stewart said.

Oubre and Crandall both said they hope to be there this year. Oubre said he can’t promise he will be dancing though.

“I was there the other year, I had to dance. We had a dance contest between the departments. Hands down, I won,” Oubre said.

Oubre said above all he hopes to see the rodeo return bigger and better than it was in 2019.

“People really get behind it, they enjoy it. The LaGrange rodeo was huge back in the day,” he said. “I hope it’s bigger and better. I hope the crowds come back out and support us. I hope we have good weather. Please don’t let it rain again. This is something we want to build on. We want it to grow and become bigger and to be a staple every year,” he said.