Sports Person of the Week - Jude Leonards

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Three years ago, Jude Leonards traded in his basketball sneakers to become a full time cowboy in the rodeo circuit.

“I didn’t want to play basketball anymore and dad gave me the option of riding saddle bronc or steer wrestling and I chose steer wrestling, and it just went on from there,” Leonards said.

Since that time Leonards has won more than 30 buckles, but his latest big win came at the 2022 Louisiana High school rodeo championship where he brought home a championship in steer wrestling.

“Steer wrestling is where the bread and butters at,” said Leonards. “At the state finals I won the state championship and I’m going to compete in Gillete, Wyoming at the end of July and we’re going to see what we can do there.”

Leonards draws inspiration from his own growth and from another local championship steer wrestler who is no stranger to performing on the big stage.

“Following in the footsteps of Gavin Soileau who is a steer wrestler also. Me and Gavin are pretty close, and we’ve always practiced together since I started, and we’ve done a lot of things together and it’s been good,” Leonards added.

As he looks ahead to the National Little Britches rodeo in Guthrie, Oklahoma this month, his plan is to just keep winning.

“Just go get them down and make it back to the short go everywhere I go and win a little money,” said Leonards. “See if we can get a national title under our belt.”

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