HOUMA — Grand Isle is all a buzz with the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
Not only does the weekend mark the beginning of summer, but it's also the return of the fishing rodeo season on the island.
After last year's rodeo schedule was put on hold due to the BP oil spill, Grand Isle is ready to welcome back visitors to its beaches and waterways.
The island's rodeo season begins on Friday with the 15th Annual Grand Isle Speckled Trout Rodeo at Bridge Side Marina.
Buggie Vegas, owner of the marina, said he is starting to see familiar faces again and that the island residents are excited that the summer is here.
"We've seen people that we haven't seen in over a year. It was people that we used to see all the time. We are excited and my wife, Dodie, and I talked about it all time. Here we go and we are ready to go," Vegas said. "I think everyone is getting on the phone and a lot of camping spots are all booked. Everyone is excited and people kept asking are we going to have a rodeo because they want to get back on the island."
The rodeo goes through Sunday and Vegas said that there will be food and entertainment for the visitors. Vegas said that he expects ticket sales to pick up on Friday once people start arriving on the island. He also said that he was glad to see the number of sponsorships sold, even though it took some time for sponsors to jump on board.
"We were worried a little bit. The sponsors were slow at the first meetings. In the last month, they have been coming in like crazy with the support," Vegas said. "I guess they were hesitant and wanted to see what was up. But we are getting sponsorships like never before. People want to give us support and kick off the summer."
An approaching weather front today should make for a great weekend and Vegas said that if the wind dies down, anglers will do well in a number of spots.
"That is the ticket. It looks like when that front comes through, that Saturday and Sunday look real good," Vegas said. "The fish are there. Right now, we have 4-5 foot seas, and some guys at the camp still caught some nice (speckled) trout off the beach."
Vegas said that anglers are doing well catching white trout at night on a white grubs and live shrimp.
Best spots: North of Four Bayou near the islands and the oyster reefs in Caminada Bay.
Best baits: Live shrimp and minnows.
Gail Serigny of Gail's Bait Shop in Leeville said that windy conditions make it tough for anglers to get out to open waters, but they are still catching fish.
"We do have people fishing and they are catching fish, but it is tough with the wind," Serigny said. "We are supposed to have a good weekend and if that is the case, they will catch going towards the island."
One thing that Serigny said that is disappointing is the lack of crabs in the Leeville area.
Best spots: The surrounding marsh and dead end canals for redfish. If the wind dies, head to the bays behind Grand Isle for speckled trout.
Best baits: Live shrimp and minnows. Also some artificial baits with a piece of shrimp attached to it.
Melissa Fanguy of Capt Allen's Bait and Tackle said that anglers should head south for speckled trout.
"They are catching fish. The problem is to get where the fish are because it is mighty rough," Fanguy said. "They are still catching redfish and drum on the inside. But they have to go out to the islands to catch some trout."
Best spots: The islands offshore and marsh near Cocodrie and Lake Boudreaux.
Best baits: Live shrimp, minnows and Chicken on a Chain.
Contrary to rumors Bob's Bayou Black Marina is open and people are catching sac-a-lait and bream in the area.
"I do have a few people going out. They are catching a decent amount of sac-a-lait and some bream and a few bass," Bobby Breaux, owner of the marina, said. "They are going to Copasaw and Turtle Bayou, but you have to find some clear water. Our water level is perfect, it hasn't risen or gone down. I don't think we are going to get the water they were anticipating."
Best spots: Copasaw and Turtle Bayou
Best baits: Tube jigs, chartreuse, white and black.
Isabel Allende directed by Paula Rodriguez Sickert (Germany, 2007/2008, 58 min, Documentary) Award-winning best selling novelist Isabel Allende has inherited her uncle's name and with it a legacy of troubled Chilean history. The world-famous Chilean author reveals her passionate engagement with life and politics. Born in Peru in 1942 and raised in her grandparent's house in Chile, she started her career as a journalist. After the Chilean army overthrew her uncle Salvador Allende's government, she spent thirteen years in political exile in Venezuela before love finally brought her to live in the United States. Isabel Allende manages to transform her passionate and painful life into literature, exorcising her experiences onto the page. What emerges is a portrait of a remarkable woman who not only emerged out of history but helped shape it directly. Isabel Allende in attendance.
Cowboys in for tough test at Cody Snyder Professional Bull Riders Invitational
Only 40 bulls are standing between one cowboy and top prize money at the Cody Snyder Professional Bull Riders Invitational in Swift Current on Saturday.
A field of 30 cowboy competitors will face off against 30 bulls during the qualifying round of the May 28 sold out event, with the top 10 riders qualifying for the finals and a champion crowned as a result of their two-ride average. Over 15,000 in prize money is up for grabs, and the top payday will go to the rider with the best score during their 16 seconds of high octane excitement aboard their bucking stock.
Event organizer and two time Canadian National Champion champion bull rider and four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier Cody Snyder was somewhat surprised the event sold out in just days after tickets went on sale.
"Yes, it's a pleasant surprise that they sold that fast," Snyder said leading up to the event. "But there's never been a PBR event there before and there's not a lot of bull riding and rodeo events within the vicinity there."
With the skyrocketing popularity of bull riding, the veteran bull rider and promoter said spectators are quick to snap up tickets to see their heroes in action.
"Professional bull riding is one of the fastest growing sports in North America. People love seeing great bull riding. PBR is the biggest bull riding organization in the world," Snyder said. "If you're going to do a golf tournament then you bring the PGA to town so you're getting the best of the best. And that's what this is about. PBR that's what people identify with it and they know the calibre of events that we've put on for the past 17-18 years.
"We've always prided ourselves and we go above and beyond getting the best bull riders that are available at the time, and we always get as good a pen of bulls together as we can possibly bring.
"When you put those elements together, people know that they're going to see a top notch professional event - something they've never seen before in Swift Current."
Snyder highlighted that Saturday's event is not just about the action in the arena.
"It's more than just bull riding. It's entertainment. People are going to come out and have a great time, we're going to have a lot of fun. We've got the big dance after. So it's a full night of entertainment."
He adds that the entertainment factor of the event is second to none, and the after event Party in the Dirt featuring Canadian Idol standout and country music rising star JayDee Bixby will round out an event full of fun for those in attendance.
"Our show designer is Peter Gebraad (Pro FX Inc.) who does the Calgary Stampede stage show, he did the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, he's done many NHL/NBA all-star games. He's the best in the business."
The bull riding athletes attending the event in Swift Current are among the best there are, and they have worked hard to perfect their riding abilities.
"You take a guy like Aaron Roy from right there in Saskatchewan, he's travelled all over the world riding bulls. He's been in Australia, he's been to Brazil, he's been in Mexico riding. He's been all over every State in the U.S., rode in Madison Square Garden, and for a kid coming from Asquith, Saskatchewan, what more can you ask than to have an opportunity to be on the world stage."
Regarded as the best during his days as a competitor, Snyder said success in the arena does not just happen overnight. He captured his first World Bull Riding Championship in 1983 at the age of 20. He still holds the record for the most Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) qualifications in bull riding (nine), as well as for the highest scored ride in Canadian Rodeo History (95 points) in 1983. He was a four-time National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifier.
"It starts from when you're a kid. As you grow up and that's what you want to be is a professional bull rider. It's no different that when you're a kid and you want to be a hockey player, and you grow up dreaming of being a hockey player, and you do whatever it takes to get to that level. And professional bull riders are the same. Most guys have been dreaming about being a bull rider, and they've watched it on television, seeing their boyhood heroes doing it and they want to emulate them. And it takes a huge commitment, and a lot of effort, and it's dangerous. Not everybody out there has the constitution to do it."
Snyder, who has riden during a Swift Current indoor rodeo in the 80s, and was a frequent entry in the bull riding event during Frontier Days, is looking forward to his return to the city on Saturday.
"We're excited to come to Swift Current, and to bring an event of this calibre to Swift Current is very exciting for us. And the economic impact these events have...there's going to be a lot of people coming from all over Saskatchewan and southern Alberta to come and watch this event and it brings a lot of money into the community."
FORT SMITH, Ark. -- An outbreak of equine herpes virus-1 has been detected in horses. The virus is believed to have originated at the National Cutting Horse Association national championship in Ogden, Utah. Since the virus has spread, over 30 horses have been quarantined and countless rodeos have been cancelled.
Horse handler Ralph Phillips, from Henrietta, Okla, had heard of the recent outbreak but still came to Arkansas to compete in an upcoming rodeo.
"It effects the nervous system and I know your horse can die from it," Ralph Phillips said.
Phillips said it makes him nervous but he's been following directions from his veterinarian.
"We're basically sanitizing everything with bleach and making sure all of our horses have all of their paperwork up to date," Phillips said.
Horses who have contracted the virus tend to have symptoms of decreased coordination, urine spotting, a fever above 102 degrees and weakness in the limbs.
The Old Fort Days Frontier Rodeo in Fort Smith is gearing up for its events. Horse handlers have been bringing in trucks of horses from various states to compete. The rodeo commission said they have been taking extra precaution to make sure the virus doesn't enter.
"We felt like after the advice from the state veterinarian's department that we could go out and have this event and we're trying to take every precaution we can to make sure there's not an issue," said Calvin Evans of Old Fort Days Frontier.
Every time a horse comes into the stable area, a veterinarian is on hand to check all of its medical paperwork and to look for signs of the illness.
The Old Fort Days Rodeo Commission is informing all horse handlers to not share equipment and to avoid nose-to-nose or close contact with other horses.
Celebrities, Cowboys Kick Off Rowell Ranch Rodeo Special Olympics athlete Shane Bonetti's demeanor has been a huge plus. Horses are intuitive, and Shane passed his calmness and confidence directly to his horse.
Riddle: What do former Oakland Raider John Vella, state Sen. Ellen Corbett, former Assemblyman Johan Klehs, and Special Olympics athlete Shane Bonetti have in common?
Answer: Cows at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo, of course!
These four politicians and athletes were among the local celebrities who participated in the celebrity team penning event at the kickoff of Rowell Ranch Rodeo on Wednesday. Others were Dennis Waspi of Hayward Area Recreational District and Mary Garcia of Eden Center Hospital Foundation.
Special Olympics athlete Shane Bonetti, 17, of San Lorenzo has become a rodeo favorite and star of the Twittersphere since a story about him was posted earlier this week on Castro Valley Patch.
Here are the handles of just some of the people who have Tweeted so far about Shane's participation in the celebrity penning event: @cowboybychoice, @AutismTips, @kaizenphysio, @KateWinsletGHF, @francisjuradom, @PeterBrownPsy, @DavisJames24, @MexCAN and @robynurse38.
Shane has autism. He has participated in the Special Olympics for disabled youngsters for the past five years and on Wednesday partnered with Castro Valley cowboy Jerry Dominguez, who—along with Vella of the Raiders—has long been involved with Special Olympics.
After the penning event, Dominguez exclaimed for all to hear, "You da man, Shane!" Dominguez also emceed the event with humor and gusto, pausing only to ride with Shane.
In penning, the arena is filled with 20 cows, and two each are marked with the numbers zero through 10. An announcer calls out a number and, if the number is 5, for example, two of the three-person team members must sort out the two cows marked 5, separate them from the others, and drive them down the arena and into the box. The third cowboy is in charge of guarding the box. He moves away to let the right cows in and blocks the entrance to keep the wrong cows out.
Shane's calm, confident, gentle demeanor has been a huge plus in working with horses, which are very intuitive about their riders. A nervous, fearful rider will make a horse nervous and fearful, but Shane passed calmness and confidence to his horse.
Shane has been training with Sarah Deane at Rancho de Los Amigos on Cull Canyon Road. A patient and knowledgeable trainer, Sarah covered basic horsemanship on the ground and in the saddle, and provided Shane with a good foundation.
Wednesday was the first time that a Special Olympics youngster has ridden in the Rowell Ranch Rodeo.
The kickoff went smoothly under a blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds after unseasonal cold rain that ended just that morning. The experienced and celebrity cowboys and cowgirls drove cows into a small corral at the end of the arena.
Also on tap were the traditional cowboy tri-tip Bar-B-Q and a stellar performance by the Flying Fillies Drill Team. Stay tuned for more rodeo events to come—something every day through Sunday.
Death at rodeo called an accident Family suing carnival owners over fatality on roller coaster By CINDY GEORGE
The death of a man who fell from a roller coaster on the last day of this year's Rodeo Houston has been classified as an accident by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.
The primary cause of Brian Greenhouse's death has been determined as "multiple blunt impact trauma." An autopsy report, which will include toxicology reports, is not ready.
Greenhouse, 47, plunged 30 feet from the Hi-Miler roller coaster at the rodeo's carnival on March 20.
His relatives, including a young son, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Harris County against the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and Ray Cammack Shows, the carnival operator.
The complaint alleges negligence and negligent activity on the parts of the rodeo and the midway operator.
The suit asserts that Greenhouse "was ejected from the roller coaster car" and that the ride did not properly restrain him.
"We are not surprised that it was ruled an accidental death," said Tony Denena, one of the lawyers representing Greenhouse's relatives. Autopsy still pending
He said he will reserve further comment until the final autopsy report is available.
The other parties in the lawsuit would not talk about the latest development in the case.
"At the advice of our legal counsel, because this is in litigation, I am not going to be able to comment on that," said Leroy Shafer, CEO of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
David Margulies, spokesman for Arizona-based carnival operator Ray Cammack Shows, also declined to comment .
Shafer, the rodeo's top official, has said that the roller coaster attendant did not see Greenhouse leave the Hi-Miler, even though operators are required to maintain visual contact with the ride at all times.
But in its report to state amusement regulators, Ray Cammack Shows stated that Greenhouse was "limp" as he descended, describing his injuries as right elbow abrasions and "possible internal or pre-existing."
The ride operator placed Greenhouse in the front car — the same seat where other patrons have reported the restraining latch coming loose during the ride.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has initiated its own probe of the Hi-Miler, Shafer confirmed last month.
Country singer gets tuned in to rodeo Fresh off her latest visit in Nashville, 19-year-old Langley singer Emily Taylor Adams will be performing at this weekend's Cloverdale Rodeo. By Troy Landreville
Rodeo and country music are as compatible as flapjacks and maple syrup. So intertwined are they, superstar Garth Brooks recorded two hit songs, Rodeo and Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old) about ropes and reins and bulls and blood.
So it was a bit surprising to find out country crooner Emily Taylor Adams is not a rodeo aficionado.
"I went last year, the first time I actually went and watched the rodeo," the 19-year-old Langley resident said. "It's really cool."
Taylor Adams knows a little bit about singing at the Cloverdale Rodeo, though, having performed there the past five years and counting. The annual rodeo, a Cloverdale institution, will be celebrating years of tradition this May long weekend as it marks its 65th anniversary from May 20-23.
This Sunday, Taylor Adams will perform a pair of 45-minute sets on the Outdoor Entertainment Stage at the rodeo fairgrounds. She'll be on stage 1:15-2 p.m. and 3:45-4:30 p.m.
She can't wait for Sunday to arrive, saying stage fright is one gremlin she doesn't have to fret over once she takes the mic.
"I don't get nervous, nope," she said. "The only time I ever get nervous is in front of people I know. I'd way rather sing in front of 100,000 people I don't know and I'll never see again, than five people I know."
Awarded the 2010 BCCMA Female Vocalist of the Year, Taylor Adams is home after her most recent stint in Nashville, where she worked on songs for her next album while living and collaborating with singer-songwriter Jamie O'Neil.
"I met her in January when I went down [to Nashville] with a couple eponymous debut, released in February, 2009, is available on iTunes and on her website, www.emilytayloradams.com.
If her career really begins to take wing, Adams hopes to get a place in Nashville. She'll be back in Music City, USA, in June.
"It's amazing," she said, about Nashville. "I love it. Once you get there, all of the sudden you get this huge rush."
of friends," Taylor Adams said. "She's a songwriter as well. One of my friends is friends with her and he hooked us up and we met. It's been awesome. I sang for her and played my guitar for her, and she decided she wants to mentor me."
Her latest trip marked her sixth visit to Nashville, where Taylor Adams spent three weeks writing songs for record number two.
"It was great," Taylor Adams said. "I've got some awesome songs. I can't wait to record them, hopefully."
Making music is something Taylor Adams seemed destined to do, from the time she was old enough to "walk, speak, and hum," she noted.
Calling Rascal Flats and the Dixie Chicks major influences, Taylor Adams said she enjoys the storytelling aspect of their music, something she tries to emulate.
"I love telling stories in my songs," she said.
On Sunday, she'll debut a couple of the songs she wrote in Nashville. Taylor Adams describes Rush as a love song and a Jealousy as a "haunting, dark song."
Writing lyrics is not easy, she said: "You have to make sure it makes sense and people like and can relate. I just started to become a songwriter so I'm still getting used to it and learning a bunch of new stuff."
Expect to hear two cover tunes during Taylor Adams' performances Sunday. She puts a personal spin on Kansas's Dust in the Wind and Joan Jett's I Love Rock and Roll.
"We made them country," she said. "We made them both, me. They are