Dig Baton Rouge

Rocking for Charity

By Claire Salinas

The Red, Rock, and Blue charity fundraiser started with Jacques Doucet goofing off in his parent’s backyard with friends, and eventually snowballed into a weekend-long event that attracts people from all over Louisiana.

The event has gone from hosting two to three teams in Doucet’s backyard to this year’s team registration count reaching nearly 80 teams for the softball/kickball tournament on Saturday.  Adults can get into the tournament for $3 and kids for $1. There will be live music at the event, which will be held at BREC, all day Saturday starting at 10 a.m.  Local country band, Gillis Silo, will also be making an appearance at the festival at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

“You’re giving back. These are people that defend our freedom and sacrifice so much, carrying gear and putting themselves in harm’s way, so we can have fun this weekend.”

The weekend will kick off on Friday night, June 27, with the “Celebrity/Sorta Celebrity Softball Game” that will be played by teams made up of former LSU softball and football players, a former major league baseball player, former Superbowl MVP and radio hosts. Players will compete for seven innings and will be available to sign autographs afterwards. A military member who has recently returned from a tour abroad will be throwing the first pitch at the “Celebrity/Sorta Celebrity Softball Game” on Friday.

The weekend will be topped off with a concert by Everclear, Soul Asylum and Eve 6 at The Varsity Theatre.

Concert tickets range from $42.50 to $200 and can be purchased at The Chimes Restaurant on Highland Road. There are a limited number of free tickets available to military members, who can pick their ticket up by showing their military I.D.

“It cranked up when I was senior in high school in 1994. It started as a tournament,” Doucet said. “We were goofing around in my parents backyard.  We just built this little softball field in my backyard with chicken wire and two by four’s.

We got everyone together to play once a year.”

Eventually one of Doucet’s friends suggested that he capitalize on the connections he had made while working as a sportscaster with WAFB and make their annual get together into a charity event.

“My good friend Taylor Begnaud, who served in the army and was involved in operations overseas in Kuwait in the First Gulf War, said ‘You reach a lot of people through TV we ought tot make this a charity event.’ I didn’t know anything about fundraising or getting fundraiser sponsors. We decided to give the money to the Louisiana military to support them in what they do.”

All proceeds from the event will go to the Louisiana military.

The event started off in Lafayette, where Doucet is from, but eventually was moved to Baton Rouge, to accommodate the growing crowd that came out to support the cause. The kickball tournament, celebrity game and concert were all added to the activities as the event continued to grow.

Doucet encouraged people to change up their routine fun-seeking activities and take advantage of the economical, family-friendly event.

“I went to the movies to see Godzilla and it was great, but it cost me $13.  It’s only $10 for adults $5 for kids to come to the Celebrity/Sorta Celebrity Softball Game softball game. Any kid that shows up wearing a youth baseball or softball jersey will get in free at the celebrity game and any military that show up with their ID will get in free.”

Doucet feels like the event is something no one has excuse to not support.

“You’re giving back.  These are people that defend our freedom and sacrifice so much, carrying gear and putting themselves in harm’s way, so we can have fun this weekend.”

Red, Rock and Blue Calendar

June 27: Celebrity/Sorta Celebrity Softball Game @ Cypress Mounds

June 28-29: The Doucet/Begnaud Invitational – Softball/Kick Ball Tournament @ Oak Villa

June 29: Summerland Tour featuring EVERCLEAR, SOUL ASYLUM, and EVE 6 @ The Varsity

For more information, visit www.RedRockAndBlue.com

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