The following is a news release from Southwest Louisiana CVB:
LAKE CHARLES (April 15, 2011)—Last night in Pineville, the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association awarded the Louisiana High School and Junior High School Finals Rodeo to Southwest Louisiana.
The Finals Rodeo will be held in Lake Charles at Burton Coliseum in 2012 and 2013. This will be the first time that the events have been here since 2001. Southwest Louisiana was home to the event for 53 years until it was moved to Monroe and then Gonzales.
Lake Charles was selected in a 19-0 vote over Monroe/West Monroe, Gonzales and DeRidder.
"Bringing this event back is a prime example of local people working very hard to bring their business home," said Shelley Johnson, executive director of the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Members of the Committee to Bring the Rodeo Back to Southwest Louisiana included Tony Stelly, Sandy Treme, Jason Barnes and Kane Webb from the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Eric Zartler from the Lake Charles/Southwest Louisiana Convention & Visitors Bureau and Jared LeBlue with Burton Coliseum. Spearheading the committee were Mike Jongbloed, Toby Laughlin, John Denison, Jim DuPont and Darin Goodwin.
"Local rodeo contestants and their families were disappointed when this event left after 2001. It was an event we all looked forward to every year," said Mike Jongbloed. "We are so proud to have been part of the group that brought this event back home where it belongs in Southwest Louisiana."
The committee formed nearly a year ago and has worked tirelessly to put together a solid bid to bring this series of events back to Burton Coliseum.
"This is a proud day for Southwest Louisiana," said Sandy Treme, Calcasieu Parish Police Juror who was present at the bid. "This is a prime example of the magnitude of success that Southwest Louisiana can achieve when we all come together with one common goal in our sights."