The Louisiana State Penitentiary holds a rodeo for its inmates that’s open to the public. This rodeo, hosted every Sunday in October and one weekend in April, includes standards like bull and bronco riding and barrel racing, but also some more intense competitions like “convict poker,” where four men sit at a table as a bull comes barreling in, with the last man still sitting declared the winner.
Angola Prison Rodeo poker (via Angola Prison Rodeo)
It might seem a bit brutal at first glance, but the rodeo, and the arts and crafts show alongside it, is a way for inmates to get a sense of freedom and change from the repetitive nature of prison life. The Angola Prison Rodeo isn’t the only prison rodeo around — there are also prison rodeos in Texas and Oklahoma — but it is the oldest, dating back to 1964. (Oklahoma also has a prison rodeo for its women inmates, as documented in Bradley Beesley’s film Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo.) The funds raised from the rodeo all go towards prison programs in education and religion, and for each rodeo, the 10,000 seat arena is sold out. Because there’s nothing quite like the terrifying spectacle of a raging bull-disrupted poker game.
Bronco riding in the Angola Prison Rode (via Angola Prison Rodeo)
THE LONGEST GOING PRISON RODEO: ANGOLA PRISON RODEO, Angola, Louisiana
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