Whether you are a seasoned rodeo-goer or you've been wanting to check "attend a rodeo" off your bucket list, you’ll want to venture to the beautiful Tunica Hills area, north of Baton Rouge, where one of the wildest events takes place in the strangest of locations. Welcome to the Louisiana State Prison grounds for the Angola Prison Rodeo.
The Angola Prison Rodeo is a popular event that is not your traditional rodeo.
It began in 1965 when the first arena was built by a handful of dedicated inmates and personnel. It was a simple affair initially staged for the entertainment of prisoners and employees. These early performances, however, attracted crowds of spectators. People gathered to watch the fun, sitting on apple crates and the hoods of their cars. It soon became clear this could be a business opportunity for the prison, and their first stadium was built for the 1969 rodeo.
Other than the obvious, what really sets this rodeo apart from the more traditional rodeo is the nature of the events. While rodeos are designed to test the skills and athletic ability of the cowboy or cowgirl in working conditions like cattle ranching, this prison rodeo sets the stage for an exciting and nerve-racking battle of animal vs. human brawn. Watch the Angola Prison Rodeo video!
The variety of events thrill the crowds. Take, for example, the Bust Out, which places six brave cowboy inmates atop six angry bulls. When all six chutes open simultaneously, releasing men and beast into the arena, the last man to remain on the bull wins the event. Don’t miss the Wild Cow Milking event where teams of inmates chase the animals around the arena trying to extract a little milk. The first team to bring milk to the judge wins the prize. Convict Poker is a fun game of double dare as 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 to remain seated is the winner. And the biggest, wildest scene of the day is the Guts and Glory run, where a poker chip is tied to the meanest, toughest bull available. The object here is to get close enough to the bull to snatch the winning chip.
To experience these wild prison rodeos, head to Angola on the third Saturday and Sunday in April or every Sunday in October. Tickets are $15 and rodeos begin at 2 p.m. Buy tickets now.
Today, the Angola Prison Rodeo is a professionally produced rodeo working with professional rodeo stock contractors to provide the livestock used in events, along with providing objective judges. To ensure inmate participant safety, professional rodeo clowns are always present in the arena during events along with emergency services personnel.
What began 40 years ago, as a "fun" thing by a handful of rodeo-loving inmates and employees is now a business. Proceeds from the Angola Prison Rodeo cover rodeo expenses and supplement the Louisiana State Penitentiary Inmate Welfare Fund providing inmate educational and recreational supplies. So grab your tickets today!