Meet the Member Gavin Soileau

by Rodeo News

story by Michele Toberer

Gavin Soileau, of Bunkie, Louisiana is no stranger to what it takes to win a national title. Gavin’s older brother Gabe was the 2015 National High School Rodeo Association Steer Wrestling Champion. Gavin has competed in the LHSRA since he was in 8th grade, and just finished his senior year as the 2018 Champion LHSRA Steer Wrestler, and 2018 Champion LHSRA All-Around Cowboy. Although he didn’t qualify for nationals in team roping, the points from heeling helped him clinch the all-around title. He is now on a mission to follow in his oldest brother’s footsteps and bring another national steer wrestling title back to Louisiana.
Gavin is the third-oldest son of his parents, Kent, and Sadie Soileau, with his sister, Laney, 24, leading the pack. Garrett is 22, Gabe, 20, Gavin, 18; and Grant, 16, was named the 2018 Reserve Champion LHSRA Steer Wrestler and will be heading out to Wyoming to compete alongside Gavin. Kent keeps busy farming rice, corn, sugar cane, soybeans, wheat and cattle on the family’s 10,000-acre farm, while Sadie keeps everything in the household running as it should for their family. Kent is a LHSRA alumni team roper and has tried to give his sons every opportunity possible to fulfill their rodeo dreams. He and Gavin’s uncle, Matt Stagg, have helped Gavin and his brothers with team roping, also bringing them to Ricky Green clinics to fine tune the young ropers’ skills. When the boys showed interest in chute dogging and steer wrestling, Gavin’s parents brought them to Tom Carney’s ranch in Bernice, Louisiana to attend his Steer Wrestling 101 clinic.
Gavin is grateful for the help of professional steer wrestlers like Rowdy Parrott, Tyler Waguespack, and Tyler Pearson. The Parrott family helped the Soileau brothers with horses and anything they needed as they got started. “I get to see how they practice, their intensity level and the work that they put in to make it to the NFR.” Gavin has been competing on permit at PRCA rodeos, and after competing in steer wrestling in 13 rodeos so far this season, he’s currently sitting 2nd in the permit-holder standings, racking up over $9,000 in winnings. Gavin also competes in UPRA, CPRA and LRCA rodeos on a regular basis.
This will be the second year Gavin has competed at the NHSFR. He’s spending time with Tom Carney, fine-tuning little moves, running steers on horses, working on the dummy, and going back to basics so that he is as sharp as possible before he leaves. “Last year I got nervous and made simple mistakes. This year I am more prepared. I’m just going to make my runs and do what I can on my steers, and not worry about what everyone else is doing.”
Gavin and Grant will both be competing with the bulldogging and haze horse they share. Slingshot is a 14-year-old bay gelding, born and raised on their farm. They found that he worked better as a bulldogging horse than head horse and have loved using him on that side the past 4-years. The haze horse they use is a 17-year-old black gelding named Ace, that Tyler Waguespack used when he was in high school. “Slingshot stands in the corner solid and leaves flat so I can see what I want on the barrier, getting a sharp barrier is so important.”
Gavin will be attending McNeese State University in the fall, where he will compete on the college rodeo team while getting a degree in agricultural business before moving up to the pro-rodeo ranks.

© Rodeo Life Media Corporation | All Rights Reserved • Laramie, Wyoming • 307.761.9053

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