There were hundreds of people eating, racing and cooking in New Iberia City Park all for a good cause Saturday. Mudbugs on the Bayou included a race, silent auction and crawfish cook-off to raise money for local para-athletes to compete in national and international Olympic-type events.
The athletes sold crawfish dishes and broiled crawfish to help pay for their travel expenses, registration fees, uniforms and other costs associated with their competitions. Some of the athletes raising money were as young as 15 years old and just starting their international athletic career.
Competition was rampant in New Iberia City Park between the cook-offs dance-offs and races.
"We help cover their travel expenses, their team uniforms, their needs when they're up there the average cost of one of our athletes to go to National Juniors in Minnesota is one thousand dollars and the cost or one our athletes to go to Puerto Rico would cost this year three thousand dollars" said event organizer Stephanie Lamperez.
Fifteen year old Nico Badeaux was one of three athletes present at Mudbugs on the Bayou event raising money for his trip to Puerto Rico in August to compete in the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation Junior World Championships. His equivalent of the Olympics he's taken months to prepare for.
"I trained a couple hours a day with the track team couple hours by myself a (with) little bit of weight lifting" said athlete Nico Badeaux.
By the end of the afternoon team Nico raised more than seven hundred dollars through crawfish sales. Next door to Team Nico was Team Bryce also competing in Puerto Rico this summer and they ended the day with four hundred dollars one step closer to his dream.
"It's a little crazy going from not really being able to do the things other kids can do and now being able to do things they aren't able to do" said athlete Bryce Segura.
Stephanie Lamperez one of the event's main organizers says over $2,000 was raised on Saturday. But some of the athletes like Bryce Segura said a major benefit of mudbugs on the bayou simply can't be measured.
"This event helps us out it helps out not only from a financial standpoint of raising money and helping us that way it helps out to let us see they're really there behind us.""
Lamperez says some athletes did not show up to the event due to sickness and the weather forecasts but will also be competing this summer, not in Puerto Rico but in Minnesota for the national junior disability championships.