The biggest, most celebrity, and fun-filled party of every summer in Natchitoches and for miles around is coming your way a bit later than normal, at the end of this month.
Three days of festivities are right around the corner, Thursday, July 27 through Saturday, July 29, with the 2023 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration.
Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning Joins four-time WNBA All-Star Alana Beard (whose parents are from Natchitoches Parish) and College World Series champion LSU baseball coach Paul Mainieri in a star-studded 12-member induction class.
The LSHOF Class of 2023 also includes New Orleans native Ron Washington, who managed the Texas Rangers to a pair of World Series appearances and in 2021 helped the Atlanta Braves win the world’s championship; two-time LSU track and field USA Olympian and world champion Walter Davis; and Slidell native, Tulane great and Chicago Bears two-time Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.
Also elected for induction are All-American LSU pitcher Paul Byrd, a 14-year Major League Baseball veteran who made the 1999 All-Star Game; Shreveport native Wendell Davis, who shattered LSU football receiving records before heading to the NFL; multiple national champion and world-class weightlifter Walter Imahara, a UL-Lafayette legend; and retired Baton Rouge-Parkview Baptist baseball coach M.L. Woodruff, whose teams claimed 11 state championships.
The LSHOF’s Class of 2023 will be enshrined Saturday, July 29, at the Hall of Fame’s home in Natchitoches to culminate the 64th Induction Celebration.
The 2023 Induction Celebration will kick off Thursday, July 27, with the La Capitol Federal Credit Union Welcome Reception from 5-7 p.m., free to the public at the Hall of Fame museum.
The Friday, July 28 schedule begins with the Celebrity Bowling Bash presented by BOM at Four Seasons Bowling Center in Alexandria. The 2023 Rockin’ River Fest, a free concert on the downtown riverbank stage, begins at 6 p.m. and runs until 10:30. In conjunction with the Rockin’ River Fest is the VIP Taste of Tailgating party presented by Hancock Whitney.
The slate on Saturday, July 29 kicks off with the free LSHOF Junior Training Camp led by community relations personnel from the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, on the NSU campus at the Webb Wellness and Recreation Center and Turpin Stadium. Kids ages 7-17 do need to register in advance at the LaSportsHall.com website, but there is no charge to participate.
At noon Saturday, the Round Table Luncheon presented by the Tiger Athletic Foundation is held at The Venue on Front Street.
Festivities culminate Saturday evening with the Induction Reception at the LSHOF museum beginning at 5, followed at 7 by the Induction Ceremony at the Natchitoches Events Center. Northwestern State University and State Farm Agents of Louisiana are presenting sponsors Saturday evening.
The VIP Taste of Tailgating, the Bowling Bash, the Round Table Luncheon and the Induction Reception and Ceremony are ticketed events requiring purchase in advance through LaSportsHall.com or by calling 318-238-4255, and those events could become sellouts.
The Thursday reception, the Friday evening River Fest and the Junior Training Camp are free. As noted above, camp participants must register online in advance.
The 2023 Induction Celebration will be hosted by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation, the support organization for the Hall of Fame. The LSHOF Foundation was established as a 501 c 3 non-profit entity in 1975 and is governed by a statewide board of directors. For information on sponsorship opportunities and other participation, contact Foundation President/CEO Ronnie Rantz at 225-802-6040 or RonnieRantz@LaSportsHall.com, or Greg Burke, Director of Business Development and Public Relations, at 318-663-5459 or GregBurke@LaSportsHall.com.