story by Michele Toberer At 13 years old, Lane Leeper has already marked earning world champion titles off of his bucket list. The Leon, Iowa […]
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Meet the Association Louisiana Miniature Rodeo Assoc.
story by Michele Toberer
As the Louisiana Miniature Rodeo Association puts the youth members they serve in the forefront of every decision, the children prosper and so does the association. The LMRA offers children up to 18-years-old a venue for competing not only for state titles, but also for world titles through sanctioning with the International Miniature Rodeo Association. “We’ll be traveling to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in January 2019 for the IMRA finals, held during the IFR, and we are excited about the extreme amount of talent we are bringing from Louisiana. Last year we brought 5 members, but this year we’re bringing 20 members, I call them Team Louisiana,” says LMRA co-owner, Kathy Hebert.
This is the second season for the newly founded organization, and Kathy, along with co-owner and president, Glen Buquoi work tirelessly to offer the best miniature bull riding, pony bareback riding, pony saddle bronc riding, mutton busting, team wild pony races, pole bending, barrel racing, and breakaway roping, that they possibly can. This season they had 80 named members and held 7 regular season rodeos at the Mike Zito Arena in Plaquemine, Louisiana, leading up to the LMRA finals in December. The events are broken down into age divisions for competition; Pee-Wees 5-8, Juniors 9-11, Seniors 12-14, and Super Seniors 14-18; and after the season finals the eligible riders in each division will travel to the national finals to represent their state association.
“I think that associations like the IMRA and LMRA are going to help the industry grow. If we don’t keep working to provide a place for the kids to grow in the sport it will eventually just die out,” explains Glen. “Us older guys that rode have to do something to keep pushing the kids to learn and compete. When I was younger I had a passion for bronc riding, but in southern Louisiana I didn’t have the places to go learn, so at 15 I started riding bulls instead.” Because of this passion for the future of bronc and bull riding, Glen and Kathy started the Broken Road Arena at their home in Denham Springs, Louisiana. Glen had trouble finding places for his own son, Waylon, 13, to practice, so they bought miniature bulls and started holding weekly practices, which led to miniature bull jackpot series at the arena, and finally to the start of the LMRA. The couple now have 5 kids between them, and 3 of them participate in the rodeos; Waylon competes in mini bulls, saddle bronc ponies and wild pony races, Hunter, 15, enters wild pony races, and Marion, 16, enters barrel racing, pole bending, breakaway roping, and wild pony races.
Kathy works diligently to contact events and find venues for the association to compete, “I am always working to find places for our kids to go, we don’t want people to see us as just another regional association, we want them to understand that our members have opportunities for big things in their future, and you never know, another Lane Frost could come through here.” One of the opportunities the LMRA recently had was to participate in the Bulls On The Beach event, September 7-8, where they brought 5 pony bareback riders to Florabama in Foley, Alabama to show them their big talent on little ponies. The LMRA is very thankful to the producer of the event, Jerry Byrd, for allowing the LMRA to be the first association to bring youth to the event.
Kathy and Glen keep quite busy with the LMRA in addition to running The Outpost Feed and Outdoor Supply in Walker, Louisiana, and Buquoi Construction, in which Glen and his brother do home remodeling. Glen also spends many days in search of the perfect ponies for the rough stock events. The ponies that don’t want to buck, often end up being the perfect candidates for a child’s first Christmas pony and are either sold or occasionally given away.
Gary Hebert also helped to start the LMRA, and serves as the vice president, as well as one of the association’s main sponsors with his business, Hebert Scrap Metal. Kathy explained, “There are many adults that have helped this association get where it is, but I want people to understand that it is the kids that have made this happen, we just do all we can to support them, but they are what make the association great.”