Step n Strut Ban

The annual Step and Strut Horse Trail Ride in Opelousas remains under a ban enacted back in December.

But, that didn't stop residents from voicing their opinions on the matter at Wednesday night's public hearing.

Residents living along Highway 31 in Opelousas say they've had enough of Step n Strut. Resident Shirley Edmond says the lewd conduct she witnesses every year has to stop.

“They go on the property they're urinating on the property there's one resident that had to put up 1200 feet of fence to keep them off his property.”

But equine rights activist Bobby Knight argues the individual riders should be responsible for any trouble they cause… not event organizers.

“The law in Louisiana states that damage done by an animal… The owner is responsible, not the group, not the club, not your brother not your mama.”

Knight's sentiment is shared by Sheriff Bobby Guidroz. But, he says every year the sheriff's department is simply outgunned during Step n Strut.

“When you come to Saint Landry Parish with 13,000 people or 10,000 people and expect the sheriff to protect all these people from Texas, I can't do it, I can't handle it.”

Guidroz provided documentation of 210 separate complaints from the incident noting that the parish simply can't protect all the out-of-towners.

But Step n Strut supporter Martin Bellow lived up to his name and made it clear he believes banning step and strut will hurt the local economy.

“You telling Texas don't come spend your money in Eunice, spend your money in Opelousas, leave it in Texas. We ain't got no jobs around here.”

Bellow even went as far as to say if council members threaten this source of money for the parish they may be voted out of office.

But Councilman Jay Guidry scoffed at the idea.

“When those people don't feel safe and feel threatened to come out of their own home or let their kids out on the street because people are exposing themselves that's our responsibility” said Guidry.

And Guidry's sentiment is one most of the councilman shared.  No action was taken on the Step n Strut ban Wednesday. But next month the council will vote on possible amendments to their trail ride ordinance including a possible appeals process for denied trail ride applications.

Step n Strut hasn't completed an application for their trail ride this year.  If that completed application is denied, they may have to appeal.  But with the current ban of Step n Strut in place the question now is, will the parish will even allow Step n Strut to apply at all.


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