Louisiana Living Legends School taught young cowboys lessons on saddle bronc and bareback riding along with lessons on life.

The three-day school held at Franklin Parish Activity Center finished up Dec. 29 with 68 students and many experienced cowboys who volunteered their time to teach the inspiring bucking horse riders. 

Buckshot Sims, one of the event organizers, said the third annual event was a success.

“It went really, really well,” Sims said. “We had students as far away as New Mexico, Florida and Michigan.”

Seventy-eight National Finals Rodeo (NFR) qualifiers instructed the nationwide audience and taught fundamentals, dummy work and getting on livestock.

Among the instructors were Jeffery Collins who qualified for the NFR multiple times and won the 2000 World Championship in bareback.

One of the main instructors was Franklin Parish’s own, Cody DeMoss.

DeMoss was is a world ranked saddle bronc rider who has qualified for the NFR 14 times along with winning the 2012 NFR world championship, according to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) website.

On first day, young cowboys were given a rundown on equipment, learned chute procedure while more advance students (those who have participated all three years) put on a small rodeo. The remaining students judged, and a Wrangler pro official reviewed their judging.

On the agenda for the second day was practicing on a riding horse, and students toward the end were put on bucking horses.

The third day saw cowboys riding bucking horses.

For the elementary and junior-aged cowboys, they received instruction on the arena’s opposite end with a mechanical bull and some rode bucking steers.

Mixed in to the three-day school were motivational speakers such as Bradley Harper and Franklin Parish Sheriff Kevin Cobb.

“They both did really good,” Sims said.

To get accepted into the school, cowboys had to fill out an application and go through an interview process. Louisiana riders received first notice.

“It was like a job interview,” Sims said.

Additionally, all items from food to equipment, were donated giving the event a sense of hometown togetherness. 

“We had so many people come together and donate items to the school from Hatton’s in Liddieville donating the food to the Sheriff’s department cooking it,” Sims said. “We had so many donations, and it made the event great.”

Life lessons

Throughout the three-day school, participants learned much more than bronc riding. They learned lessons on life.

They learned not everything in life comes easily and sometimes a cowboy is knocked down but the successful ones get back up. 

They were also taught hard work pays off. It is ok to get a little dirty, and giving a little respect to others never hurts.

Life lessons taught at Louisiana Living Legends School.

Bareback vs. saddle bronc

Bareback and saddle bronc styles are very different. In saddle bronc, the rider uses a specialized saddle with free swinging stirrups and no horn. The saddle bronc rider grips the simple rein braided from cotton or polyester attached to a leather halter worn by the horse. 

The rider lifts on the rein and attempts to find a rhythm with the animal by spurring forwards and backwards with their feet in a sweeping motion from shoulder to flank.

The bareback rider does not use a saddle or rein, but uses a rigging that consists of a leather and rawhide composite piece often compared to a suitcase handle attached to a surcingle and placed just behind the horse’s withers. 

The rider leans back and spurs with an up and down motion from the horse’s pint of shoulder toward the rigging handle, spurring at each jump in rhythm with the motion of the horse.

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