Excitement is spreading in the town of Benton because the Fourth Annual Ray Forcier Memorial Rodeo is right around the corner this weekend.
The two-night, extravaganza will kick off at 8 p.m. Friday at the Willie Waggoner Arena in Benton.
J.E. Jorden, rodeo stock contractor and producer, has done a lot of planning to make this year’s rodeo memorable and not to be missed.
“We do rodeos all across the state,” said Jorden. “But this is my hometown rodeo and we go all out to make it better each year. It’s something that draws people in from all over, and it’s usually a big turnout. It’s good for the community as well, being a pretty big attraction. People can come and see a big time rodeo, which is something most don’t get to see very often.
This year’s event will include award-winning livestock provided by the Rockin’ J Rodeo Company, such as the PBR Finals Bull of 2011. A line-up of events have been prepared for spectators, such as steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, cowgirl’s barrel racing, cowgirls’ breakaway roping, bareback bronc riding, tie down calf roping, and bull riding.
One event that is always a favorite is the kid’s calf scramble.
“We have all the major events, like bull riding, roping, barrel racing, and we even have a calf scramble for kids 10 and under,” said Jorden. “I do the calf scramble a little differently than other rodeos. Most people at other shows will give about two or three places to the kids. At this rodeo, whether it’s one kid or 500 kids that come into the area to chase the calves, I give each one a dollar bill when they get done with the scramble. That way everyone is a winner. I’ve been doing the scramble like this for a long time. I have people come in who did the scramble years ago, and they’ll show up and tell me how they did the scramble when they were a kid and how they now have a kid out there doing it too. It’s a family affair deal.”
One of the main attractions is sure to provide the spectators with entertainment this year.
“A lot of people like the bull riding,” said Jorden. “This year we added something new and are doing something special for the crowd. We are matching up the 2011 PBR Finals bull, Toy Soldier, with the 2012 Louisiana Rodeo Cowboys Association Champion Bull Rider on Friday night. It’s going to be a sight, watching as two champions meet.”
Another new addition to this year’s rodeo is going to be presented as well. On Saturday night, bull #718, Stingray, will be ridden for the first time in about 4 years.
“I’ve been telling people they’re going to want to watch the show, because we’ve got a pretty good act this year!”
Also, with it being a memorial weekend, following the date of 9/11, Jorden has said that the rodeo will honor the armed forces by presenting a tribute to those who serve and have served in our nation’s military.
“It gets to me, when I stand back there watching,” said Jorden. “People always remember the first thing they see and the last thing they see.”
Contributors and sponsors for the rodeo this year are Herbert’s Town and Country Dodge, Rockin’ J Rodeo Company, and Bossier Parish Riding Club and it is sanctioned by the Louisiana Rodeo Cowboys Association (LRCA).
This year will be the 4th Annual Ray Forcier Memorial Rodeo, in memory of Ray Forcier, former administrator of the Louisiana Rodeo Cowboys Association (LRCA).
“Ray was one of the administrators of the Association,” said Jorden. “He was one of the last ones to do the rodeo, it was his deal. He promoted the rodeo. After he passed away, we contributed the rodeo to him.”
Each year the rodeo has grown, and has started getting some well-deserved attention from all over.
“I’ve been doing this rodeo for about a year, I started out my career there,” said Jorden. “It’s grown every year. We usually only have standing room only on opening nights. Spectators seem to grow in size every year, so we always try to add something new every year for them to come and see. Last year, we won rodeo of the year for LRCA, as well as many other awards.”
The rodeo provides entertainment that all community members can enjoy.
“A lot of events today, you can’t take your whole family to,” said Jorden. “We make sure that all members of the household can enjoy the show.”
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for kids, nd free for children 6 and under.