Pro rodeo to benefit first responders

Published 7:28 pm Wednesday, September 25, 2019

It’s not his first rodeo. Literally.  

Bubba Oubre is leading a team that’s bringing a professional rodeo to West Point, an event to benefit local first responders. It’s an idea that came from Oubre’s lifelong interest in rodeo and his connection to first responders.  

One of Oubre’s sons, Matt, is a firefighter for LaGrange. After last year’s Labor Day fire that left four firemen severely burned, Oubre saw how the families were affected.  

“Their wives had a lot of hardship,” Bubba Oubre said. “They were driving back and forth to the Augusta burn center. It’s tough on the families, not just the person injured.” 

That’s why he and his team are creating a fund for families.  

It’s called the First Responders’ Crisis Fund, a 501(c)3 serving every department of first responders in Troup, including city and county crews, state troopers, and 911 operators. All department heads will be on the board of directors and will manage the fund together, deciding where the money will go throughout the year. The rodeo will be the fund’s main source of revenue, and the idea for it came from a local cowboy.

Bubba Oubre grew up in LaGrange, on a farm where his dad held an annual rodeo. The rodeo moved around through the years and eventually ended. As an adult, Bubba became a professional cowboy himself, riding the circuit and winning awards. Eventually, he started his own rodeo company.  

Oubre always wanted to have a rodeo in LaGrange but struggled to find a location. With the idea for a first responders’ event, he began to look again. Someone connected him to West Point Mayor Steve Tramell.

“They were elated at the idea of bringing a rodeo to town,” Oubre said.  “It’s the first in Troup County in 5-6 years. They’ve been very gracious and accommodating to the whole idea.” 

The rodeo will be Friday, Oct. 18 and Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Old Woodyard in West Point, starting at 7:30 p.m. both nights.

 “West Point is giving us a beautiful location, a pretty spot right beside the river,” Oubre said. “We’re looking forward to it. This is a top, professional rodeo, sanctioned by the International Pro Rodeo Association out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.” 

The rodeo will include eight standard sanctioned events: bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, calf roping, team roping, breakaway roping (girls), barrel racing (girls) and steer wrestling.  There will be trick riders and other specialty acts, including award-winning rodeo clown Radical Ryan Rodriguez.  

“We are really glad to have him,” Oubre said.  

Some of the best in livestock will be there, too, including Tear Jerker, a former Bull of the Year.  

All events will be held both nights.

“This is good, clean family entertainment,” Oubre said. “People can feel comfortable knowing they will see good, wholesome entertainment.” 

Oubre’s nephew Will Binion is working to secure sponsors for the event. 

The goal is to raise enough ad revenue to cover the costs of the rodeo, so all proceeds can go directly to the fund. 

“We’re thankful for anyone willing to help,” Oubre said. 

 If your company would like to be a rodeo sponsor, contact event chair Ashley McCoy at (706) 880-2213.

The team’s inspiration continues to be the area’s first responders.  “They take care of everybody,” Oubre said. “So, he wants the fund to take care of them.”

It may not cover every need, but as he puts it, “It’ll dang sure help.”