Devin White, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2019 first-round pick, is holding a charity event in Cotton Valley, Louisiana. He will join many others for a six-mile trail ride on horseback while raising money for local charities. This event on Saturday expects up to 2,000 people, creating concern about health and safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to TMZ Sports, Cotton Valley mayor C.C. Cox expected a massive crowd, but he didn't initially believe that White and the organizers would prioritize social distancing and mask-wearing. "He was raised here," Cox said of White. "He wants to come into town, and he wants to throw a big party." The mayor also said that he never tried to prevent the event from taking place.
While there were initial concerns about social distancing, a representative for White did clarify some details to TMZ Sports. The rep said that event organizers are promoting social distancing and mask-wearing during the trail ride. They are also encouraging people to wash their hands throughout the event frequently.
This is the second year that White has held the charity event in Cotton Valley. Louisiana State Troopers and deputies from Webster Parish Sheriff's Office will assist with traffic on the highways and roads surrounding the event. Cox didn't believe that the troopers would enforce any social distancing guidelines, but a spokesperson confirmed that they would "assist with whatever needs arise" on Saturday.
Before landing with the Buccaneers during the 2019 NFL Draft, White drew attention due to his love of horses. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey mentioned during SEC Media Days that the then-LSU linebacker had seven horses at his family farm in Cotton Valley. White also had a Tennessee Walker named Daisy Mae that lived one mile from LSU's campus.
"Living in a small town, that's all you see night in and night out is people on horses," White explained back in 2018. "Once I got on one, I fell in love with it. That's a large animal that can carry any human being. I don't care how big or how small you are. It can carry you, and it can carry you for a long time. It's just a great feeling."
White said at the time that riding a horse was like heaven on earth. He didn't have any distractions from phones or football, and he could focus solely on his horse. This love of horses continued once he landed in the NFL, and White is sharing it on Saturday during the trail-riding event. However, he will have to ensure that attendees wear masks.