The Angola Prison Rodeo is held at the maximum-security Louisiana State Penitentiary (a.k.a. "the Farm") in Angola, Louisiana. The rodeo began as an informal spectacle for prison employees and well-behaved inmates in 1965, and has now grown into a semi-annual, fall and spring extravaganza open to the general public. It is now held at an arena on prison grounds seating 7,500 persons. The penitentiary organizers adopted professional rodeo standards in 1967. The official Angola Prison Rodeo Web site ( proudly states, "to ensure inmate participant safety, professional rodeo clowns are always present in the arena." This may sound funny to those of us unfamiliar with rodeos, but it is not so silly keeping in the rodeo clowns are used to distract enraged bulls that would otherwise harm the participants. The penitentiary hosts a number of events during the rodeo, including Wild Cow Milking, in which inmates attempt to milk cows running rampant in the arena, and Convict Poker, in which a bull is set loose on a group inmates playing cards at a table in the arena. The last man standing wins. Food concessions, arts & crafts booths where inmates can hawk their goods, and performances by inmate musical groups round out the Angola Prison Rodeo experience. The rodeo gives inmates an opportunity to earn money by selling their crafts and to win money by participating in the competitions. Proceeds from the rodeo are donated to the penitentiary's Inmate Welfare Fund, which is used to buy books for prison law libraries, athletic and recreational equipment, holiday entertainment expenses, and to cover other costs not included in prison budgets.

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