A prison rodeo is a real event for inmates to participate in, by choice, and the public is welcome. In fact, funds raised at the rodeo are used for prisoner education in some cases.
Prison rodeos also help keep the cowboy lifestyle alive as people travel from all around the world to watch inmates compete in rodeo events.
Do Prisons Need Rodeos?
Prisoners, like everyone else, need incentive, and it helps them serve out their sentences with as few problems as possible or even none at all. The prison rodeo seems to create a positive experience for many inmates in various ways. The Angola Penitentiary Rodeo has a long, 50-year history and combines this event with an arts and crafts festival, live entertainment and a huge variety of foods.
Is This Just For Fun?
Many prison inmates enjoy creating jewelry and leather crafts to sell to the public. They also prepare the food for the rodeo, and all of these endeavors provide a feeling of accomplishment for those involved. Accomplishment paves the way for hope, and hope is essential for a prisoner’s ability to work toward a positive future life.
It’s so popular in the community, literally thousands of people turn up for the Angola Rodeo annually. In fact, the Angola Rodeo of the Louisiana State Penitentiary sold out of Fall 2014 rodeo tickets for October 19th and October 26th.
Community people also participate in the rodeo at times for certain events, which is also good for community relations. Every prison needs that.
What Kind Of Rodeo Is It?
The Angola prison rodeo, and possibly some others, uses the (PRCA) Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rules for all rodeo events. There is real competition and comradery at these events, and narrowly escaping death tends to breed respect among participants. It would be difficult to fake the bucking of an angry bronco or an upset bull. Riders have to do what they can to survive, let alone win, an event. There is no time for anything else during this type of competition.
How Did Prison Rodeos Start Up?
A Texas prison in Huntsville, TX, started a rodeo in 1931, just for inmates and employees as entertainment. In the beginning, a few local residents came to watch, and two years later, over 15,000 rodeo fans attended. Later on, crowds exceeded 100,000.
Even celebrities made appearances at this rodeo over the years, including Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Ernest Tubb and Tom T. Hall. Sadly, this prison rodeo ended in 1986 when the arena deteriorated to the point of needing excessive renovation.
Men and women prisoners gain self-respect by giving back to the community in prison rodeo events.
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