A Prison Rodeo?

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The Angola prison rodeo, an event that takes place every Sunday in October, is a rodeo like no other. Before I even begin to explain the rodeo, I must attempt to describe a place that strikes me as largely indescribable. To clear the air, Angola prison is actually just the nickname for the Louisiana state penitentiary. Angola is located on an 18,000-acre property, a compound that boasts a 9-hole golf course, guesthouses, and farmland. All of these amenities are inmate built and operated and, while this information assuredly takes many aback, it is important to remember these men are tradesmen. I had the privilege of staying on the prison grounds the night before the rodeo in one of the inmate built houses, so I can attest to the fact that these abodes are no small shanties. Outfitted with two floors, two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a kitchen and a living room, believe me, there was nothing dainty about them.9576939-large

Before you even walk into the rodeo ring (which is also on the prison grounds), there are hobby shops all over the place. Inmates sell the things they have crafted during their incarceration; these inmates are considered trustees, because they do not have a guard directly supervising them. These men sell goods such as wallets, leather works, steel works, chairs, tables, birdhouses – and just about any other thing you can imagine. The prison orders them the proper supplies they need, and the men can work on their projects during time allotted for work.

Now on to the actual rodeo. If you have ever been to a rodeo, then you know that rodeos can get pretty wild. For instance, the opening event at this rodeo featured a bunch of monkeys riding dogs that were corralling sheep into a cage. Along with that, there was a plethora of other events, most of which starred prison inmates alone in the ring with a bull. One of the most famous events is convict poker, when four inmates sit at a red table looking at “cards”, and a very angry bull is released into the ring. It’s crazy, but the last inmate to be looking at his “cards” wins. The inmimages-1ates prize money ranges anywhere from 50-500 dollars; for this particular event, the inmate who is last standing wins 100 dollars. Other crowd pleasers include an event where eight inmates stand in hula-hoops and the last one in his hoop wins 100 dollars. The final event, and probably the most infamous, is the grand finale. A group of inmates is released into the ring, and then a bull is put into the ring with a red medallion strapped to its forehead. In this contest, the inmate to take the medallion off the bull wins 500 dollars. This is justifiably the largest prize because the inmates are required to reach towards the animal’s forehead, which is right by the horns, and often the inmates end up getting tossed in the air. After the rodeo I had a chance to have a talk with a deputy warden, and when asked about the prisoner’s take on the rodeo, he told us they love it. He also explain237641d15ad07f10520f6a706700c27bed that there is a wait list to participate in the rodeo, and that the inmates behave better to ensure that they receive a spot on the wait list for the next rodeo on the calendar. So if you ever happen to be in Louisiana in October, I highly suggest that you head over to the Angola prison rodeo for a once and a lifetime experience.

Tucker Seth, Staff Writer

Posted by on November 5, 2015. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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