Meet the Member Lydia Touchet
story by Siri Stevens Lydia started riding when she was four on a sale barn horse named Peanut. “PawPaw bought him for both my older […]
Story by Matt Naber
Luke Dubois, 18, doesn’t want to be known as the cowboy with an inoperable brain tumor. He wants to be known as an excellent team roper, and that’s exactly what he’s proving himself to be.
“Don’t get me wrong, but I don’t want to be known as that guy,” Luke said. “I never want to be a sob story. I want to share my story and if anyone has it worse than me they can use it as motivation.”
The Church Point, Louisiana, cowboy was diagnosed with a low-grade glioma brain stem tumor in December 2017. Although it can’t be removed, he hasn’t let that stop him from succeeding in rodeo. With his sister Grace, 16, by his side for team roping in the LHSRA, that’s likely to happen.
In 2018, Luke and Grace were world champions for ribbon tying. Then in 2020, Grace won the junior high state title for breakaway roping — but she doesn’t remember doing it.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Grace said. “They asked me what happened and how I did it, and I don’t know what to tell them because I don’t remember any of it. It had to have been muscle memory. I have the worst luck, honestly.”
Their mom, Jeanne, remembers all of it.
“She had a terrible accident during state finals,” Jeanne said. “She went to pull her second loop and her horse jerked back and she fell and hit the concrete wall. She passed out and immediately had a seizure.”
Luckily it was just a bad concussion, so she was allowed to compete that evening. She went from the hospital to winning the junior high state finals with a 2.5-second breakaway roping run.
“I always worry so much about them, but when it happens a calmness comes over me because as the parent you have to be strong for them,” Jeanne said. “You have to stay positive and not show the worry on your face. It was a freak accident. There’s always a risk, but we try to train safety.”
Grace went on to win the 15-and-under breakaway roping at the Vegas Tuffest Jr. World Championships in December 2020. More recently, she was named the 2021 All Around Rookie of the Year and won the state title for breakaway roping her freshman year with the LHSRA.
Luke’s biggest win was a 2018 RAM 3500 at a jackpot three years ago. Earlier this year, he won a round at the National High School Finals Rodeo.
Grace won $15,000 at the 15-and-under breakaway roping at the Junior Patriot in Fort Worth earlier this year.
“That’s the biggest I’ve ever won,” Grace said. “I spent it on more stuff for rodeo and I’ve been looking for a new backup horse since mine is getting old.”
Grace loves horses now, but that wasn’t the case.
“She had a little accident at 2 years old and had a concussion, so she didn’t ride for 5 years,” Jeanne said. “She was scared to get on. We let her go at her own pace and it took years to get over the fear. We worked with her on her horsemanship, and her fundamentals were so good because she’d been roping a dummy that when it all clicked together she’s done amazing.”
Luke and Grace are the oldest of the bunch, followed by Faith, 14, and JD, 12 (see related story). The youngest are brothers Gabe, 9, and Clay, 7. Luke got his start on a horse that was born on the same day as him, March 1, 2003. He also credits his “adopted grandpa,” Terry Guillory, for his rodeo success.
“He’s kind of a family horse and my favorite one,” Luke said. “My grandpa (Shelton Dubois) gave him to me when I was little and I named him Batman. All of my siblings have roped on him so he’s pretty special to me.”
Now Luke primarily competes on a sorrel American Quarter Horse he calls Cowboy. Grace rides Cheers during breakaway roping and Payday for team roping.
“I like horses more than people and I’m always with them,” Grace said. “I feel like me and my horses have a connection.”
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