Saturday’s LSHOF Roundtable Luncheon provides up-close, memorable moments

The “youngest” event during this weekend’s Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration is the most exclusive, yet casual, opportunity for the public to enjoy hearing from the Class of 2021 inductees.

It’s the LSHOF Roundtable Luncheon coming up Saturday at noon in the ballroom of the Chateau Saint Denis Hotel at 751 Second Street in Natchitoches. There’s still time to be among the 200 guests for the fourth-ever Roundtable Luncheon presented by the Tiger Athletic Foundation.

Registration is available for that event and all other activities during the Induction Celebration beginning Thursday by  calling 318-238-4255.

Festivities begin Thursday evening at 5 with the free of charge La Capitol Federal Credit Union Welcome Reception open to all at the Hall of Fame museum facing the traffic circle on Front Street.

The Roundtable Luncheon starts with tremendous New Orleans-style cuisine and quickly kicks into gear with Fox Sports announcer (and Class of 2020 LSHOF inductee) Tim Brando interviewing small groups of inductees on stage in a very informal and fast-moving setting.

While there are some logical pairings for the interviews, such as New Orleans Saints pass-catching great Marques Colston, LSU legend and nine-year NFL veteran Glenn Dorsey, and longtime NFL referee Terry McAulay, other groups fall together in fun fashion.

Among the other 2021 inductees are two locals: Bo Dowden, born and raised in Natchitoches before he became one of the greatest pro anglers ever, notably the 1980 Bassmasters Classic champion; and longtime Northwestern State sports information director and LSHOF chairman Doug Ireland.

A possible pairing at the luncheon: pitcher vs. hitter. Baton Rouge native Courtney Blades Rogers is ranked among the top 11 all-time hurlers in college softball history. Rickie Weeks was the 2003 college baseball player of the year at Southern, then became an MLB All-Star in a 14-year big league career.

Former LSU track and field coach Pat Henry, who accounted for 27 NCAA team championships by his Tigers, would be on the mythical Mt. Rushmore for college track coaches and has tutored nearly 50 Olympians. Two journalists who covered Henry’s powerhouses at LSU are trailblazing New Orleans sportscaster Ro Brown and Baton Rouge writer Sheldon Mickles.

Some of the best moments of the 2020 Induction Celebration two months ago came at the luncheon when eight-time Mr. Olympia bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman shared the stage with Grambling two-sport standout and legendary Monroe-Richwood High School football coach Mackie Freeze, the oldest-ever inductee at age 94, with Brando posing questions and cracking one-liners.

A poignant scene at the 2019 luncheon unfolded before the program when Peyton Manning stopped by to greet LSU legend Johnny Robinson, who was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame two months later.

It all combines to provide a memorable 90 minutes with guests in close proximity to the legends.

The Hall of Fame Roundtable Luncheon shapes up as a highly entertaining opportunity for guests to have a up-close-and-personal experience and be entertained and well fed.

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