Angola Prison Rodeo marks 50 years

Associated Press
Inmates participate in the Angola Prison Rodeo in Angola, La., Saturday, April 26, 2014. Louisiana’s most violent criminals, many serving life sentences for murder, are the stars of the Angola Prison Rodeo, the nation’s longest-running prison rodeo that this year celebrates 50 years. The event has grown from a small “fun” event for prisoners into big business, with proceeds going into the Louisiana State Penitentiary Inmate Welfare Fund for inmate education and recreational supplies. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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They're often thrown like rag dolls and risk being stepped on or gored by bucking bulls and broncos. But in those few seconds in the spotlight of the Angola Prison Rodeo, the inmates feel like they are part of the world again.

Louisiana's most violent criminals, many serving life sentences for murder, are the stars of the nation's longest-running prison rodeo that is celebrating its 50th year.

In a half-century, the event has grown from a small event for prisoners into a big business that draws thousands of spectators to the Louisiana State Penitentiary. Proceeds go into the prison's Inmate Welfare Fund, which helps pay for inmate education and recreational supplies.

Only the prison's most well-behaved inmates get to participate, said Gary Frank, an award-winning power lifter and former professional football player who serves as the maximum-security prison's athletic director. (AP)

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