Photograph: Former Opelousas resident and three-time national rodeo champion Steve Duhon was back in his hometown on Friday as the honoree for Steve Duhon Day, sponsored by St. Landry Parish government.
On hand for the presentation was Opelousas Police Chief Martin McLendon, parish president Jessie Bellard, Steve Duhon and his wife Janet. (Photograph by Layne Herpin.)
If Steve Duhon could have made a wish, everyone in St. Landry Parish would have had a chance to eat unlimited helpings of free boudin.
As it turned out, Duhon received a parish government proclamation instead, designating Friday as Steve Duhon Day.
Parish President Jessie Bellard said honoring Duhon, a former Opelousas resident, LSU linebacker and a three-time world champion rodeo performer, is the first of several similar events as examples of what local individuals can accomplish.
“I want to start spotlighting individuals from our parish in order to show kids what type of person they can be if they choose to do things the right way,” Bellard said.
“People like Steve Duhon grew up here, worked hard with his family to become one of the best professional rodeo performers for a long time. Individuals like Steve Duhon have shown us that there is more out there in life if we just work for it,” Bellard added.
In June Duhon became only the second rodeo champion to be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. Duhon’s induction ceremony in Natchitoches drew a large interest from parish residents as well as members of the national rodeo circuit.
Bellard added that he plans to have parish government sponsor youth rodeos in the agricultural arena located behind the Yambilee Building.
Duhon, a resident now of Jasper, TX., was also in town Thursday night in order to attend the Opelousas Catholic Homecoming game against Sacred Heart School.
“I came in to watch a grandson (Jordan Luna) play for Opelousas Catholic. My granddaughter Gracie (Luna) is a cheerleader at the school,” Duhon said during a telephone interview from his home.
Duhon said he reunited with many old friends on Thursday, including a former high school coach, Perry Fontenot.
“I visited with a lot of old coaches and a lot of old friends. I thought my grandson looked pretty good out there too (during a 34-6 win over Sacred Heart),” said Duhon.
Duhon spends most of his days attending to his herd of cattle on his Texas ranch in addition to teaching young kids various skills that they use at youth rodeo events.
“They work at steer wrestling and calf roping. A couple of days a week I have fifth and eight graders, while the older ones come out on different days,” Duhon said.
In less than a month, Duhon plans on heading north to begin hunting on property that he owns in Missouri.
“We’ve already been through the archery season up there,” said Duhon.
Duhon was back on his ranch Friday morning, with a day of work ahead, following a long ride home to Texas with his wife Janet.
“I’m just getting ready to climb up on my tractor and go out and do some bush hogging. Then there’s all the cattle to feed,” Duhon said.