The search for a new girls softball head coach for St. Amant began last month when Scott Nielson stepped down after 14 seasons at the helm. Nielson compiled a hefty 415-60-13 record in those 14 seasons, which included a 140-11 record in district competition along with four state titles for the Gators.

St. Amant had 20 applicants for the job to lead what could be considered one of the best programs in the state. After interviewing the top five or six finalists, the decision was made to hire Amy Pitre, the current head coach at East Ascension.

Pitre has a pretty impressive ré sumé as a head coach. Sporting a 202-83 record in nine seasons for the Spartans, she led the Spartans to the LHSAA’s Fast Pitch 56 state tournament five times in the past seven seasons. Pitre spent the first two years of her career at East St. John, posting a 32-25 winning record there. So minus the fact that she’s the current coach of a District 5-5A rival of St. Amant, the choice was pretty obvious.

The decision was pretty tough for Pitre as she’ll leave a place that she loves along with a staff and players that are near to her heart. But it opens the door for someone else to come in and inherit a pretty solid softball program at EA. That search begins now.

Tarpon Rodeo coming up

The 68th annual Golden Meadow/Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo is slated for June 30-July 2.

In its 68 years, the rodeo has evolved into one of the premier saltwater fishing competitions anywhere along the Gulf of Mexico.

Along with some outstanding fishing opportunities, the mission of the Golden Meadow/Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo has remained constant: to maintain the unique family-oriented sportsmen culture and heritage of Lafourche and Grand Isle through a community fishing rodeo, with proceeds dedicated to scholarships and educational opportunities for future generations.

Rodeo board President Eddie Callais and Rodeo Admiral Ashley Barrios presented the winners of the 2016 high school scholarships at a media event on May 25. As part of the mission of the rodeo, proceeds from the event assist local high school students to attend college. Winners of this year’s awards are Carley Duet, $4,000, and Nikali Lombas, $2,000, both of South Lafourche High School.

Barrios is the first female admiral in the rodeo’s history. Barrios was born and raised on the West Bank of New Orleans, but Lafourche Parish always was close to her heart.

“Both of my grandparents were both born and raised in Lockport, and after Hurricane Katrina, we made a decision to move to Larose,” she said.

One of two daughters, Barrios got her introduction to fishing while tagging along with her father.

“Mama’s rule was that Dad could fish but he had to bring one of the daughters with him,” Barrios said. “I was the one who always wanted to go on the trips. He worked for Texaco, so it was usually Dad, me and a couple of plant workers, and I usually outfished them all.”

Those of us in the media were treated to a morning fishing trip the next day. I was fortunate to fish with Capt. John Chauvin, of Fin-Tastic Charters. Joining me on board was Davie Breaux, board member for the rodeo, and Chris LeCoq. Our plan was to fish along the beaches for the big female trout that were being caught, but the wind wouldn’t cooperate.

So Chauvin brought us to the back sides of Casse-Tete and Calumet islands to get out of the wind. Our first stop didn’t pay off, so we made a short move and began to fish again. Davie and Chris were using live shrimp, while I stuck to artificial lures. The trout began to bite a little, and like usual, we kept the school of trout active and experienced a short flurry of activity.

After that short spurt, we tried the spot a little longer, then headed out for other spots. We picked up one here and there and ended the day with 30 keeper trout. We probably threw back at least that many more.

I’ve fished with plenty of charter guides in my life, and every now and then, you run across one that you “put on the list.” These guides have what I call a servant’s heart; they make sure you have a good time and take care to see you have what you need to be successful on the trip. Chauvin is one I’ve added to my list. If you’re looking for an outstanding trip with a skipper who has great fish-finding skills and a servant’s heart to boot, give Chauvin a call at (985) 665-4586 or find him on Facebook.

The rodeo gets started at safe daylight on June 30. Registration in the adult divisions is $35 and the children’s division (under 12) is $20. Each ticket includes one entry into the rodeo, fishing towel, rodeo book, boiled shrimp dinner and a chance to win over $15,000 in rodeo awards and door prizes.

Live music, food and drinks will be available under an air-conditioned tent. The fanfare and celebration commences at 11 a.m. on July 1 with the King of the Catch Cook-Off. This is a fan favorite as the dishes are served from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and tickets will be sold for people to sample the dishes. Teams will cook up dishes featuring at least one of the following Louisiana seafood items as a main ingredient: crawfish, shrimp, crabs, fish, oyster, calamari, bigarno (snails), frog legs, alligator or turtle. Types of dishes allowed to be entered are fricassee, é touffé e, gumbo, courtbouillon, sauce picante, jambalaya or anything fried, stuffed or grilled.

For more information, to purchase tickets or to become a sponsor, visit fourchontarponrodeo.com, and check out the official rodeo profiles on Facebook and Instagram.

Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net or ascension@theadvocate.com.