A point of personal indulgence. My hometown Louisiana newspaper has full coverage of a big sporting event in Arkansas this weekend -- the inaugural Red Beans and Rice Bowl. Read on for details. But let me say first that, though you can take the boy out of Louisiana ....
"Hot boudin, cold coosh coosh. Come on McNeese, poosh, poosh, poosh." I hope to hear many choruses of "Jole Blon" before the night is over.
No offense, UCA fans, but my dad was a member of the then-juco's first graduating class and played tuba in the McNeese band. His college best friend, who became a near uncle to me, was a halfback on the first Cowboy team. My dad always bought season tickets, even when the crowd numbered in the hundreds and you could walk in free at halftime.
We traveled near and far for Cowboy road games, generally with me dozing on my dad's shoulder as he drove home in the wee hours. Games were always at night in Louisiana. What a memory. Cocooned in a big V-8 Pontiac, the heater cranking against the chill, we coursed through the piney woods of North Louisiana accompanied by the radio sounds of Ace Ferguson in the LSU wrapup show and the college football scoreboard, fight songs blaring. A Pitt Grill hamburger stop in Alexandria was always in order.
Names like Don Breaux (Arkies should remember him) and Tom Sestak still thrill me. The current Cowboy coach is son of a famed Cowboy QB and his wife, my high school speech teacher. I spent many an hour during summer programs at The Ranch, the McNeese student center.
In short: Sauce piquante is thicker than water. Go Cowboys.
SPECIAL TO THE LAKE CHARLES AMERICAN PRESS
On Saturday, the McNeese State Cowboys will not only be playing for a Southland Conference championship and playoff berth but also for the inaugural Red Beans and Rice Bowl Trophy.
The game, scheduled for 4:05 p.m. Saturday, will pit the 14th-ranked Cowboys (7-3, 4-2 SLC) against No. 13 Central Arkansas (9-2, 5-1). The SLC match has been designated the Red Beans and Rice Bowl by the schools’ administrators.
The winner of the game will receive the trophy — a bronzed bowl — at the conclusion of the contest in a midfield presentation and will have custody of the award for a full year. It will be a revolving trophy, going to the winner each year.
The game will be played in Conway, Ark., and will be televised by the Southland Conference Televisoin Network and broadcast in the Lake Area by KVHP, Ch. 29.
Central Arkansas announced that it will partner with the Arkansas Rice Depot, a statewide hunger-relief organization, in an effort to increase awareness of hunger in Arkansas. The Rice Depot distributes over seven million pounds of food annually to hungry Arkansas.
Game day gate tickets will be discounted $1 to everyone brining a non-perishable food item for donation to the Rice Depot. Gumbo will be sold before to the game and UCA will host a red beans and rice cook-off with all proceeds supporting The Rice Depot’s efforts to end hunger in Arkansas.
NOTES: It will be the second time in McNeese history that a regular-season game has a trophy tagged to it. The first was the clash between the Cowboys and the Ragin’ Cajuns of USL — now Louisiana-Lafayette. The throphy was called the “Flag” and the winner of the game kept it for a year. The trophy was initiated by the student government associations of the two schools.