Don’t shake Gerard Melancon any time soon.
He might wake up from his dream life.
Just consider the many things that could cause the veteran jockey to break out in a huge smile at any moment any given day.
On the personal side, his son, Jansen, is currently following in his footsteps as a young aspiring jockey. His other son, Jonas, just graduated from UL.
His first grandson, Emmitt, was born Nov. 30.
He’s also happily married to a wife, Annette, who has stayed by his side throughout his 32-year career.
And oh yeah, there’s this matter of Melancon’s name now being on an esteemed list he never dreamed was possible.
The 21-year resident of Scott is one of five jockeys in North America recently named as finalists for the prestigious George Woolf Memorial Award.
It’s an award that Melancon, as well as all the nation’s Jockeys Guild members, votes on each year, and one the Rayne native never imagined would include his name.
The award has been presented since 1950 to a thoroughbred jockey in North America who demonstrates high standards of personal and professional conduct on and off the racetrack. Woolf was a Canadian jockey who rode the infamous Seabiscuit to wins in 1938.
In other words, jockeys who are highly successful on the track and also great ambassadors of the sport off the track.
The other four finalists are American Pharoah Triple Crown winner Victor Espinoza, Eclipse Award winner Javier Castellano, Joe Bravo and Joe Steiner.
“It’s very humbling to me to be nominated,” Melancon said. “I’ve been doing this for 32 years and I never thought about getting nominated for it.
“This is such a great group of guys. I know all of those guys. If I had to vote, I have no idea which one of the four I would vote for.”