Led by brothers Cody and Heith DeMoss of Heflin, a free bareback riding and saddle bronc riding school will take place Dec. 27-29 at the Franklin Parish Activity Center in Winnsboro. The clinic has been around for years and has been the driving force for some rising rodeo stars.
Take the 2023 National Finals Rodeo as an example. ProRodeo’s championship event will feature two Louisiana newcomers, saddle bronc rider Ryder Sanford of Sulphur and bareback rider Kade Sonnier. In fact, Sanford has already clinched the Resistol Rookie of the Year honor, and Sonnier, who is No. 3 in the world standings, is in a battle with two other cowboys for the award in bareback riding.
Both are graduates of this free program. Not only are bareback riders and bronc riders trained, but there are opportunities for pickup men to gain some lessons. It’s an opportunity for anyone of any skill level to improve upon his talents.
Students from Louisiana will receive the first opportunities to be part of the lessons, but the school is open to anyone nationwide. In the past, ProRodeo officials have also been involved, and each student has had the opportunity to know what it’s like to judge rides based on the criteria in the rulebook. They will then be critiqued by the officials on site.
According to organizers, there are a lot of big-name cowboys who serve as the school’s instructors. Men like the DeMosses, Mike Fletcher, Joey Sonnier, Jared Lavergne, Taylor Broussard, Shawn Frey, Chad Klein, James Boudreaux and world champion Eric Mouton have provided their expert tutelage to the students. In fact, last year’s set of educators accounted for 72 NFR qualifications.
The Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Department takes the time to feed lunch to the students daily. That is another blessing school organizers have in keeping the tuition free. The livestock is also donated by some of the top PRCA stock contractors, including Pete Carr Pro Rodeo, Hi-Lo Pro Rodeo and Rafter G Rodeo. More than 250 horses will be bucked over the three-day event.