The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame induction weekend is June 29. Events will include a free Rockin’ River Fest featuring Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs with special guest Wayne Toups. Opening act will be Bill O’Con and Badd Apple.
There will be a free interactive kids zone for ages 4 and up as well as fireworks over Cane River at 9:15 p.m. Natchitoches Area Jaycees will host a VIP Taste of Tailgating where participants can meet the inductees in an air conditioned tent next to the amphitheater aong Cane River. Tickets are $75.
There will also be a 70’s disco Bowling Bash sponsored by BOM from noon-2:30 p.m. at Country Lanes Bowling Alley. Events will include a retro 70s costume contest, catered food, DJ Geaux and more. Visit LASportsHall.com/events for more information on either event.
Meet the inductees
PAUL CANDIES — The formidable drag racing partnership of Candies & Hughes began in 1964 when Leonard Hughes, who’d been racing Chevrolet stockers, wanted to go faster. The man to help him achieve that goal was Paul Candies, his long time friend. By 1968, they were part of the fledgling Funny Car class in the National Hot Rod Association and set the national record of 7.87 seconds in LaPlace. The next year, they had low e.t. and top speed at the U.S. Nationals with a national speed record and also won at the Winternationals.
The Candies & Hughes team won 45 major events — including 28 NHRA titles in the Funny Car (18) and Top Fuel (10) classes between 1970 and 1994. The first two of those breakthrough wins came with Hughes at the wheel in the 1970 Gatornationals and 1971 Summernationals in the Funny Car class. They later became the first team to win NHRA and IHRA Winston championships in the same year. Candies went on to win five IHRA Championships, two NHRA titles and had nine top-five seasons.
Both men were inducted into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame in 1999. Candies, president of the des Allemands-based marine transportation company Otto Candies, was also a longtime supporter of the long-running Grand Isle International Tarpon Rodeo. As chairman of the annual summertime event, he was known as the “Granddaddy of the Tarpon Rodeo.” Candies, who died in 2013, was following in the footsteps of his father, Otto, who helped the tarpon rodeo — whose history dates to the 1930s — thrive in its early years and eventually become one of the premier fishing tournaments in the entire nation.