City Social Magazine

JUL-AUG 2017

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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12 support for Dream Day Foundation and the patients at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, including those at Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital (1 of 7 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Affiliate Clinics in the country). Like the police rodeo, Dream Day Foundation got its start in the 1990s when a local patient wanted to leave the hospital and go fishing. Since then, members of the nonprofit and the hundreds of volunteers who give their time to the nonprofit have dedicated themselves to making the hopes and dreams of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital patients and their families come true. To date, they've been able to contribute millions of dollars to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and host a variety of events, including the Fishin' Galore event in nearby Clinton, Louisiana. Where the Annual Gulf Coast Police Motorcycle Skills Training Competition is concerned, moreover, Dream Day Foundation organizers and volunteers don't simply sit back and accept the proceeds—roughly $100,000 per year from the police rodeo; rather, they play an active role in the planning and carrying out of each police rodeo by helping the public and police officers in any way they can— fulfilling their purpose and mission to support the efforts of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital while enhancing the quality of life for the young patients and parents/caregivers. In turn, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is recognized as an immensely important organization to the police rodeo and capital city community. Known nationwide for its work helping and healing young patients afflicted with different forms of cancer, blood disorders and other conditions, the men and women of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are beloved for the dedication they show to the families and patients who enter its doors. In Baton Rouge, the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Affiliate Clinic in Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital assists local patients by helping to alleviate the expenses that come with travelling to/from treatment centers and other struggles that those who live with cancer and blood-related diseases may experience. The staff at the clinic is also lauded for its use of cutting-edge treatments and trials and commitment to compassion in everything they do, big or small. It is significantly more than a business or place of healing; it is a place where staff, volunteers and patients become family—much like the family ties that have grown between these three organizations whose staff, members, volunteers and all others involved work so diligently to not only protect and serve, but care for their fellow Baton Rouge residents and any who come to visit. This is never more evident than when people in the community come together, whether to participate or simply spectate, at such events as the police rodeo. What sets the Annual Gulf Coast Police Motorcycle Skills Training Competition apart is that the outreach of support extends not only across the Southern U.S. and other parts of the country, but is supported (as well as co-hosted) by several Baton Rouge area police agencies who work in tandem to ensure that fun is had, funds are raised, and safety is fundamental for everyone who comes to ride or watch. Co-hosts of the police rodeo include the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, the Baton Rouge Police Department, the Denham Springs Police Department, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, the Gonzales Police Department, the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office, the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office, Louisiana State Police, the LSU Police Department and the West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office. Owing to their bravery and the support they and the Dream Day Foundation and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital generate with the Baton Rouge public and beyond, it is little wonder that the police rodeo generates such support, as well as so many sponsors! Ranging from platinum to silver patrons, companies such as Baton Rouge Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Baton Rouge Harley Davidson, Ascension Ready Mix, Inc., Certified Alarm Systems & Home Theaters and others have sponsored the event in years past, including donating materials to be raffled off. After all, what's a police rodeo without a few prizes thrown in? Along with bragging rights for the eventual winner of the police rodeo—aptly referred to as "Mr. Rodeo"—raffle prize winners will go home as the envy of their co-workers, friends or fellow spectators, but also admired for how their win is equally a win for the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital! Varying each year, prizes run the gamut from home necessities to cash prizes and more. This year, first prize is a whopping $10,000 (winner responsible for taxes); second prize, a 5x10 utility trailer from Mike Gerald's Trailer Depot; third, a 55" flat-screen TV donated by Best Buy, and, last but not least, fourth prize is a smart tablet also from Best Buy. At 10 dollars a ticket, the raffle is a sure steal. The drawing will be held the last day of the police rodeo, October 21, 2017—one that the winner doesn't need to be present for to win! So, remember to get your tickets as soon as you can and support the two foundations. Also remember that, while proceeds go to the nonprofits, any money spent is equally a way to honor the time and effort of police officers of Greater Baton Rouge who've given their time and effort to the police rodeo, among them Deputy Nick Tullier of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office and Corporal Christopher Metternich of the Baton Rouge Police Department. Shot in the line of duty in July 2016, Deputy Tullier—currently recovering in Texas—consistently poured his heart and soul into the police rodeo, selling more raffle tickets each year than any of his co-workers or fellow officers. Corporal Metternich illustrated an equally-strong devotion to the police rodeo. Killed in the line of duty in a motorcycle crash in 2006, it is in his honor that the Mr. Rodeo Trophy—also known as the "Christopher Metternich Award"—is now given to the first-place winner annually. Honoring these two officers and the many others in Baton Rouge and elsewhere, the co-hosts emphasize that—while a fun, family- friendly event—the police rodeo is intended to promote safety on motorcycles and demonstrate maneuvers that can save the lives of motorcycle officers who, like Corporal Jeremy Stanley of the Baton Rouge Police Department and President of the Gulf Coast Police Motorcycle Skills Training are dedicated to serving the public while protecting themselves as best they can. That said, the organizers of the police rodeo offer an annual challenge to civilian or non-police motorcycle riders every spring called the "Civilian Challenge." Taking place next year in early-to-mid-spring, the Civilian Challenge begins with a training seminar that offers participants hands-on instruction from around twenty motorcycle riding instructors. The goal of this pre-challenge seminar is to teach not only safety techniques, but to allow motorcycle riders, whether a beginner or advanced rider, to attain a better knowledge and increased confidence as a motorcycle operator. Following the seminar, participants will be given the opportunity to take part in the challenge where they can display/demonstrate the maneuvers and techniques they've learned while engaging in hypothetical 'emergency situations' which a motorcyclist may one day encounter while on the road. In support of organizations like Dream Day Foundation and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the life-saving potential of the Annual Gulf Coast Police Motorcycle Skills Training Competition itself, as well as the fun and sense of community the police rodeo inspires, there are few events in the Baton Rouge area that are as worthwhile or as awe-inspiring as the police rodeo and the Civilian Challenge in the spring. At the same time, it is humbling to think of how a simple question in 1996 could, over time, result in an event that has spurred immense goodwill and charity to so many, as well as illustrating that generosity and love for one's neighbors are as much a part of the city as is the summer heat and guarantee of sudden and unexpected rain. In the next 19 years, it would come with little surprise or fanfare to learn that the police rodeo grew to generate even more goodwill and recognition in other parts of the country, in turn bringing out even more people who can donate their time, energy and love to this event and its causes. Want to know more about the Annual Gulf Coast Police Motorcycle Skills Training Competition or the Civilian Challenge? Visit gulfcoastmcrodeo.com or check out the police rodeo's Facebook page. Also, show your love and support for all officers of the Greater Baton Rouge area and the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital by making a donation and/or giving your time to Annual Gulf Coast Police Motorcycle Skills Training Competition, the Dream Day Foundation, or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital!

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