by Dustin Matthews
On January 14th, 2023, The Rapides Parish Coliseum hosted the CenLa Pro Rodeo. It was the second year in a row the Harper & Morgan Rodeo Company brought “The Greatest Show on Dirt” to Central Louisiana. However, this year was very special because it was the first ever PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) sanctioned event to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The local St. Jude fundraising group led by Ronnie Schwartz, Cenla Running Heroes, partnered with the Harper & Morgan Rodeo Company this year and a portion of the proceeds from the rodeo went directly to the Memphis-based children’s cancer center.
There were over 3,800 spectators in attendance for the one-night super show which featured rodeo events such as bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing and, of course, bull riding! The rodeo also featured entertainment by world champion trick roper & gunslinger, Rider Kiesner, along with trick rider, Bethany Iles. Following the rodeo, Shreveport native and Nashville recording artist, Dan Smalley, took the stage to perform hits from his latest album, The State of Country Music.
Of course, the event would not have been possible without the support of local sponsors including Walker Automotive Used Cars Headquarters, Magnolia State Construction, Riverside Hospital, Lake District Family Dentistry, Walk-On’s, Bootleggers, Hahn Roofing, RoyOMartin, Little Cakes w/ Big attitude, Red River Livestock, Boot Barn, Hixson Brother Funeral Homes, The Trish Leleux Group, Rapides Parish Sheriff Mark Wood, Alexandria City Marshal Jerome Hopewell, Visual Concepts & Designs, and KRRV – Cenla Broadcasting.
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