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Have You Ever Heard About The Angola Prison Rodeo? If Not, You Need To Read On…

A few weeks ago I had an average day. I worked and after working out I picked up my boys who were playing sports. When I got home, I turned on the TV as I was headed into the shower and Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel caught my eye on HBO. The episode focused on the Angola Prison Rodeo. No, I have never heard of it. Have you? Probably not. They were interviewing the warden and explaining what goes on during the prison rodeo. This rodeo began over 40 years ago as a "fun" thing by a handful of rodeo-loving inmates and employees and is now big business. Proceeds from the Angola Prison Rodeo cover rodeo expenses and supplement the Louisiana State Penitentiary Inmate Welfare Fund, which provides for inmate educational and recreational supplies.

Well apparently there are six dates of the rodeo a year and almost 10,000 people come to watch the rodeo during each session. Did I mention that the inmates are the participants in the rodeo! You probably could have guessed it from the title of this post, but I just wanted to make sure. What you can’t tell from the posting is the crazy (you can be the judge) events they have in this rodeo. Here are a few of them:

Bust Out – All six chutes open simultaneously, releasing six angry bulls, with temporarily attached inmate cowboys. The last man to remain on the bull wins the event.

Wild Horse Race – Six wild horses are simultaneously released into the arena with short ropes dragging behind them. Three-man teams attempt to grab the ropes and hold the horse long enough for a team member to mount. The first team to cross the finish line while still on top of the horse is the winner.

Wild Cow Milking – Teams of inmate cowboys chase the animals around the arena trying to extract a little milk. The first team to bring milk to the judge wins the prize.

Bull Riding – This dangerous and wide open event is what the fans come to see. Inexperienced inmates sit on top of a 2,000 pound Brahma bull. To be eligible for the coveted "All-Around Cowboy" title, a contestant must successfully complete the ride (6 seconds). The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rules govern this event.

Convict Poker – It’s the ultimate poker game, and even winning has a price. Four inmate cowboys sit at a table in the middle of the arena playing a friendly game of poker. Suddenly, a wild bull is released with the sole purpose of unseating the poker players. The last man remaining seated is the winner.

Guts & Glory – A chit (poker chip) is tied to the meanest, toughest Brahma bull available. The object here is to get close enough to the bull in order to snatch the chit. This is the last event of the day, and perhaps the most exciting.

I must admit if I was close by (over 450 miles away) I would go once to check it out. Although I can’t imagine participating in one of these events, if I had to pick one, which one would it be? Bust Out and Guts and Glory would be a quick "no!" Wild Cow Milking I wouldn’t do if 10 people were holding down the cow. I guess it would have to be Convict Poker. Seems like a bit of a game of chicken. Although they showed this game on the segment and inmates were airborne for 3-4 seconds and some went as high as 12 feet. AMAZING!

  • Ok time to sign up for one of the events. Which one is it?
  • Would you go and see this rodeo?
  • Have you been to it or heard anything about it?

I look forward to reading your comments.

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