The Bayou Black Open Rodeo comes the Monroe for the 16th year on Saturday August 20 at 7 p.m. in Monroe Civic Center Arena. The day begins with a parade starting at Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo at 9 a.m, and ending at the Civic Center.
Also in conjunction with the event, the Monroe Convention Center hosts a Business Expo and a Health Fair, at which local businesses and healthcare providers will distribute information to the public.
Mayor Mayo became inspired by a Black Rodeo in Longview, Texas, and decided to bring the traditions of the cowboy life. The event also highlights the contribution of African Americans to rodeo events and cowboy culture.
"Some of the events that you see in rodeo competitions were actually invented by African American cowboys, who were very much a part of the old West," says Media Coordinator Rod Washington, "I think everyone has a little cowboy in them."
Proceeds from the event go to the OK Program or Our Kids Program, which has been a part of the community for nearly 10 years. The OK Program is a mentor program that works with police departments throughout the country to build better relationships between police officers and community members in an effort to combat the rampant violence plaguing so many communities.
The program focuses on area youths, and pairs them with officers who work with the children to show them a more noble side of police work which is often overlooked in light of the many recent news stories involving police brutality.
More information is available by contacting the Monroe Civic Center Box Office at 401 Lea Joyner Road, or by calling 329-2225.