Monday, October 17, 2016

Angola Prison Rodeo

50th anniversary Angola Prison Rodeo

My visit to the 18,000 acre prison farm and the spectacle of the Angola Prison Rodeo billed as the "wildest show in the South" where inmates get airborne.

The oldest operating prison rodeo in America runs every Sunday in October and one Sunday in April and features the Angola Rough Riders, corny rodeo clown jokes and the raw energy of bull riders, trick riders, inmate pinball and chariot racing.

This is classic showmanship, raw theater in a unique art form.  But politically correct it is NOT and many of those rodeo clown jokes are not respectful to women!  So BEWARE!

Angola Prison Rodeo and inmates competing in bull dogging, wild cow milking, bust out and bareback riding.  The rodeo wraps up with their version of "guts & glory" where inmates struggle to grab a red chip from the forehead of a Brahmin bull to earn themselves a $500 prize.  The day we went - two inmates shared the final prize after a group of ten inmates tackled the bull and held him down while they grabbed the "chip" proving rodeo is a team event.

The Angola Rough Riders.

Rodeo wrangler prepares to rope a steer

   The history here is deep and sometimes dark - this recent article references the watch tower at Angola at the new African American museum.

Though we did not get to visit the Angola museum this time we hope to in the future.

Event:  Wild Horse Race
My husband getting his hog fix.
Did I mention the food?!  Inmate groups sell all manner of fair type food to raise money for their organizations - prices are reasonable and lines are short.

There's cracklins, boudin, barbecued shrimp, sweet tea and ice cream.  And if that's not enough for you, and it wasn't for my husband, try the TRIPLE HOG SANDWICH featuring ham, barbeque pulled pork, bacon and grilled onions on an onion roll.  You only live once!

We enjoyed the (free) ferry ride across the Mississippi river in our car - neat experience the movement of the river in such a quiet format and seeing what prison employees experience daily as they commute to work from the north side of the penitentiary.

View from the ferry boat ride across Mississippi River
 There's also plants for sale here- yes, plants grown at the prison's greenhouse - a big selection, too!

Many come for the arts and crafts. (A $10 ticket if you are not attending the rodeo.) Paintings, leather belts, etched wood, wood crafts, and inmate crafted furniture are popular choices.  You will see many families arriving in their pick up trucks pulling trailers who are clearly ready to shop!

Angola Prison Rodeo LSU fan selfie.

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