A jackhammer will usually register about 95 decibels. A lawn mower is a bit louder at 107 decibels.
While considered loud, the fans of St. Amant High School recorded 116.3 decibels to win the annual East Ascension Spartans-St. Amant Gators Shout Out spirit stick contest.
The contest, held Oct. 15 in the Savoy Rodeo Arena at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, pitted more than 4,000 fans from both schools in a yelling contest that ended a two-hour community pep rally complete with bands, cheerleaders, speeches and lots of yelling.
The Spartans fans managed to register a respectable 114.6 decibels.
The next night, the Spartans had revenge by winning the football game.
Five times in the previous seven years of the event, the school that has won the Shout Out has lost the game. That was the case in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. In 2009, EA won both, and in 2012, St. Amant won both.
The Shout Out and game are part of a long-standing cross-parish rivalry that finds many families with ties to both schools.
Gennia Baye, the organizer for the Spartans, is in her fourth year with the Booster Club and Shout Out committee. Baye graduated from St. Amant in 1992, and one of her two children graduated from East Ascension and dates a past trainer for St. Amant athletics. Her other child now attends EA.
“Our families are all intermingled,” Baye said.
James LeBlanc is one of the founders of the most recent reincarnation of the event and Gators captain. He played football for East Ascension and his wife also is an EA grad. The LeBlanc family moved to St. Amant 20 years ago and has five children with St. Amant ties.
“Of course, you support where your kids go to school,” LeBlanc said. “I love both schools true and blue, but fully support the Gators.”
LeBlanc has been the Gator Booster Club president for 10 years. He’s the first president to come from EA.
The first Shout Out was held in the late 1990s in the parking lot of a local restaurant. After a lengthy absence, LeBlanc and others decided to bring back the event to raise money for the two schools.
The Shout Out organizers hold a golf tournament and sell jambalaya to raise money; this year, it raised $20,000. The event also collects food for area food pantries, with more than 7,000 pounds of canned goods donated this year.
But the star of the Shout Out is the yelling contest, which has been described as a pep rally on steroids.
The fans warm up for the main event with performances by the schools’ bands, dance teams and flag squads.
For the main Shout Out, each school is given three “shouts.” That means you scream and holler for 30 seconds. The Spartans side went first, then the Gators — three times each. The countdown starts at 10, 9, 8 … then it happens. The noise is recorded with a decibel meter.
It’s one of the favorite off-field events for players.
Gus Gutierrez, offensive tackle for the Spartans, said he “waits for this week all year long, as it’s the biggest rivalry we have.”
“The kids at school try to hype us up for the game and the student body is a big help,” he said.
Wyatt Walker, offensive tackle for the Gators, summed it up.
“The Shout Out creates a buzz around school all week and just another reason to look forward to Friday night,” Walker said. “It is part of the preparation, as it’s a competition. But going out this week, as our freshmen and JV team already took care of business, and we want to make it 3-0.”
Things didn’t go Walker’s way, as East Ascension won 31-10.