BATON ROUGE, La. – The longest-running prison rodeo in the country has been canceled due to COVID-19.
“Due to the recent statewide surge in COVID-19 cases, and out of an abundance of caution and for the health and safety of staff and prisoners, the Angola Prison Fall Rodeo has been canceled. The Fall Rodeo was scheduled for every Sunday in October. In addition, the arts and crafts fair that is part of the rodeo is also canceled.”
Louisiana State Penitentiary staff will be contacting individuals who have already purchased tickets to issue refunds.
The Angola Prison Rodeo is the longest-running prison rodeo in the country. It first began in 1965 as a joint endeavor between offenders, prison employees, and civilians who live in Angola’s residential area. The first two rodeos, in 1965 and 1966, were not open to the public.
Beginning in 1967, a limited number of tickets were offered to the general public for admission to the rodeo. Proceeds of those ticket sales, like today, benefited the Inmate Welfare Fund, which funds recreational and educational programs for prisoners.
Spectators at the first rodeos had to either sit on pickup trucks or bring seating to view the small rodeo.
As the rodeo grew in popularity, the penitentiary built its first rodeo arena in 1969 to contain 4,500 attendees. Today, its popularity has grown so large that the new arena accommodates more than 10,000 attendees.
The Department continues to monitor the COVID-19 surge and will make decisions accordingly.