Beau LeDoux carrying on late father's rodeo tradition
By: Graham Dunn
One year after his death, the Chris LeDoux legacy still thrives among national rodeo fans.
Now his son is trying to build his own.
Beau LeDoux was in Montgomery to compete in the bareback riding event during Saturday's final show of the Southeastern Livestock Exposition and Rodeo at Garrett Coliseum. He was unable to complete his ride.
Chris LeDoux has been immortalized in the Garth Brooks song "Good Ride Cowboy," which is a tribute to the former world champion and country music singer.
"I get a lot of questions about him wherever I go," Beau LeDoux said before Saturday's competition. "A lot of people remember him. I guess more know about him now because of the song."
Chris LeDoux was the world bareback riding champion in 1976 but eventually earned fame as a country music singer. He became the opening act for Brooks on his concert tours.
He passed away last year from complications from liver cancer. He was 56.
Soon after his death, Brooks released the ballad in tribute to LeDoux, using several of his song titles in the lyrics.
"Garth and Dad were pretty good friends," Beau LeDoux said. "Garth wanted to do something special to give him tribute."
Chris LeDoux was retired from rodeo long after his son had the chance to see him compete. Most of Beau's memories came from videos.
"Most of my memories are about music and his concerts," LeDoux said. "He was rodeo first. He was a cowboy and loved the rodeo. I never got to see him ride, except on film."
Friday was the first anniversary of LeDoux's death. Beau said he hasn't thought much about it, other than to remember his father's accomplishments.
"I really don't dwell on it that much," he said, "other than people asking me about it. He didn't push any of us into rodeo. He let us decide what we wanted to do. I was the only one of four brothers that got into it."
Beau's brother is a drummer in Chris LeDoux's former band, Underground. The only other LeDoux sibling in rodeo is Beau's sister, who is a barrel racer.
"He thought he got through us all without having any of us going into rodeo. I was the last one," he said. "I love doing this, but it wasn't for everyone in my family."