story by Siri Stevens Addison Gautreaux lives on a 4th generation farm outside Opelousas, Louis., where she is surrounded by cattle and horses, but once […]
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Meet the Member Brad Hesnor
story by Michele Toberer
Leaving for Rock Springs, Wyoming as the 2019 Louisiana High School Rodeo Association Champion All-Around Cowboy, Brad Hesnor had the confidence he needed for the NHSFR and it showed. Brad finished as LHSRA’s champion tie-down roper and reserve champion steer wrestler. “It was great carrying on that success to nationals, and I left Rock Springs as the fourth-place steer wrestler in the world after placing third in the short round with a 4.9-second run.”
Ville Platte, Louisiana holds a special charm for 17-year-old, Brad Hesnor, and the cowboy plans to spend his future working on the same 7500-acre ranch his family works and resides on now. Much of Brad’s time is spent either helping his grandpa, Thurman Floyed, raise cattle and train young horses; or managing his own field used for farming crawfish. “During the months of February thru June, I take my boat out to my rice field and check my crawfish traps. I collect the crawfish in a sack and take it to my uncle, Robert Floyed, who owns the Central Crawfish Company where he buys, sells, and processes crawfish.” Late in the summer, the rice from the fields is harvested, and they prepare for another season. Even though that sounds like a full-time schedule, Brad also spends a great bit of his time practicing and competing in rodeos and likes to duck hunt when he can.
A third-generation cowboy, Brad started competing in rodeo at a young age, riding and learning the ropes from his grandpa. “My grandpa is from Madisonville, Texas and didn’t rodeo much himself but was quite a ranch hand and knew how to rope.” Brad’s Uncle Robert competed as a team roper in high school, and Brad’s mom, Judy, rode cutting horses. Brad’s dad, Chad Hesnor, is a building contractor. Brad tries to live by his dad’s advice, “Just do what you love.’” Brad has an older brother, CJ, and two older sisters, Monique and Ashley, who were both rodeo competitors in cutting, barrels, and poles. Brad’s little sister, Michelle, is 11 and competes in breakaway roping, poles, and barrels. Brad also has a step-sister, Andee Fontenant, 22, and step-brother Briar Fontenant, 25, who competed as a team and calf roper in LHSRA and helped Brad a lot when he began roping.
Although family has been his primary support, Brad’s very grateful to all that have helped him. His mom and Mr. Chad Fontenot help him take care of horses and haul him to rodeos, “They’re always here for me in and out of the arena, supporting me in whatever I do.” Bobby Mudd has been instrumental in helping him with calf roping, helping him know how to handle a bad calf and hustle through a run. “Tom Carney has helped me with steer wrestling; he started me and taught me his style, and that’s how I do it.” Brad enjoys practicing his favorite event with the Soileau brothers. “Grant and I grew up together and are the same age. We both haze for each other and are team roping partners. Grant hazes for me, and he won the champion steer wrestler title this year.”
The horses helping him achieve his success are a sorrel mare named Cat, that he ropes calves and heels on, and a solid sorrel steer wrestling gelding he calls Bobcat. “Cat runs hard to the calf and lets me get to my stirrup and hold my slack. Bobcat was raised on my family’s ranch and my grandpa broke him as a colt. I used to breakaway and team rope on him, but I converted him over to steer wrestling and he’s done great. It was really special for him to win the 2019 AQHA Horse of the Year at finals. Before every run, I try to visualize a great run on whatever stock I draw, and when I’m done, I make sure I give all the glory to God for what He’s given me.”
As a rising senior at Sacred Heart High School, Brad enjoys his math and chemistry classes. He plans to attend McNeese College in Lake Charles, Louisiana to compete on the college rodeo team while studying for his ag business degree before returning to Ville Platte to take over management of his family ranch.