Natchitoches becomes Louisiana’s Cooperstown for the rest of this week.
With the start of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Induction Celebration this afternoon, our state’s oldest and friendliest town assumes the role of the quaint community in upstate New York that is the home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
That’s a comparison made many times by media and visitors over the nearly 50-year history of the LSHOF inductions during the summer in Natchitoches. It will certainly be rekindled over the next three days, when seven events are staged locally.
It all culminates with the first LSHOF induction ceremony since 2019, Saturday night at 7 in the Natchitoches Events Center.
Eleven new members will be officially welcomed into the Hall of Fame.
For information and participation opportunities, visit LaSportsHall.com or call 318-238-4255. Reservations are available for all ticketed events and for the free Junior Training Camp Saturday morning at 9 at the NSU WRAC and Turpin Stadium.
Festivities begin this evening with a free reception from 5-7 at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum.
Friday’s big event is also free – the Rockin’ River Fest concert, with three bands entertaining from 6-10:30 p.m. The new Hall of Fame inductees will be introduced on stage at 9, followed by a 10-minute, sports-themed fireworks show over Cane River Lake, and then more music by the feature act, Kevin Naquin and the Ossun Playboys.
North Louisiana’s premiere show band, Natchitoches-based Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs, will rock the stage in the middle of the concert as darkness approaches in an event presented by Rapides Regional Medical Center.
Games for kids presented by Louisiana Propane Dealers, and a Kona Ice truck, will be on the riverbank.
For those craving an air-conditioned environment, an array of Louisiana-themed delicacies and up-close access to the Hall of Famers, there’s the Taste of Tailgating Tent presented by Hancock-Whitney. The tent is 30 yards away from the stage.
The stars being saluted include Mr. Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson; eight-time Mr. Olympia, Ronnie Coleman, the “Michael Jordan of bodybuilding”; Pro Bowl cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman of the Chicago Bears; NBA standout Kerry Kittles; and Harlem Globetrotters legend Sweet Lou Dunbar.
Fox Sports Television announcer Tim Brando, a former ESPN SportsCenter and CBS College Football Today host, is in the Class of 2020 along with Monroe-Richwood high school football coaching legend Mackie Freeze and Lady Techster basketball icon Angela Turner Johnson.
Opelousas native and LSU graduate, and former Northwestern State coach Joan Cronan will be inducted for her role as a women’s sports leader as the women’s athletics director at the University of Tennessee.
Sports journalists Kent Lowe (LSU) and Robin Fambrough (Baton Rouge Advocate high school sports editor) round out the Class of 2020.
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