One of the most beloved and historic events in Louisiana has been cancelled. The bi-annual Angola Prison Rodeo is just another one of the casualties of the COVID 19 crisis. Held every year in April and October since 1965, the rodeo at Angola State Penitentiary is the longest running prison rodeo in the United States. Prison officials released a statement on their website that said " Due to the continuation of restrictions, the Angola Prison Rodeos in October will be cancelled. It was a hard decision but the safety and the health of our offenders, staff and the public are our utmost priority. We know how much the rodeo means to all of you."

It originally began as just a fun distraction for prisoners, but has evolved into a massive official event twice a year. Not only is the rodeo considered top notch entertainment, but the hundreds of hobby craft booths help keep inmates busy, and put money in their pockets for their creative efforts. And honestly, they have some of the best food booths around, sponsored by organizations like the Baptist Prison Ministry. Their hobby craft booths are pretty amazing too, and through the years I have purchased many items from inmates who are happy to tell you their stories. One can't help but think what they could have done with their skills if they had chosen a different path in life.

I was however, happy to see one change on the prison rodeo website. For years, cell phones were not allowed inside the grounds on rodeo weekends. That was a huge problem if you had kids or a big group with you, and you got lost from each other. I see that starting in April, they will now allow cell phones and smart watches on rodeo grounds. Happy to hear that, and looking forward to see all the "Guts and Glory" in April.