A rising star in the local rodeo scene gone too soon.
Clay LeBlanc from Lake Arthur was killed over the weekend during a rodeo in Leesville.
Leblanc was just 23 years old. At his young age the Cajun Rodeo Association says he is ranked number two in the entire association and had a promising future.
Friends who refer to LeBlanc as rodeo family say stepping into the arena is always a risk, but they didn’t think they would lose a man like him.
“He was just a cowboy through and through, he died doing what he loved.”
Clay LeBlanc is known as a talented saddle bronc rider, a true cowboy.
Paul Stelly is a rodeo competitor, but says in this industry they become family and that’s how he felt about Leblanc. “He was just Clay, just a good cowboy and when you looked at him you didn’t see just a cowboy he was a father, he was a son, he was a brother to everybody behind these shoots. Everybody in the stands that watched him loved him.”
It makes this loss even harder to comprehend.
Jansen Gaspard also competes in rodeos he says, “I got a text message talking about Clay and it didn’t seem real. He’s going to be missed.”
Stelly says, “When you have somebody like that that you get that close to it’s like you’re losing your true family member.”
Stelly says LeBlanc took on the role as the family member who kept everyone uplifted. “It’s hard to say that it is going to be the same because that smile is not going to be there, that guy that was out there helping, you don’t have him.”
That same heart is why so many say his legacy will run deep.
Gaspard says, “I never seen a time when he didn’t have a smile on his face and try and make the best of a bad situation. He was always a happy-go-lucky person and years down the road he still will be remembered.”
Friends in the rodeo hope to have a special memorial for Clay Leblanc at the next rodeo in Jennings in September.