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Blood and Gores: Louisiana's Brutal Prison Rodeo Is Back

Louisiana's annual prisoner vs. bull event is back, and just as violent as ever.


It's Angola Rodeo time again. If you're not sure what that means, just watch this video, in which prisoners in Louisiana are gored by a bull to the delight of an audience noshing on fried food. Since 1965, Louisiana's Angola prison has held the Angola Rodeo every Sunday in October. To participate, prisoners volunteer for a a series of wildly dangerous stunts for which their compensation is the cheers of the audience members, each of whom pay $15 for the opportunity to see imprisoned men get attacked by giant farm animals.

Angola makes it a point to note that the prisoners are "inexperienced" at rodeo events, meaning they're more likely to be injured by the animals than trained rodeo performers, and the events themselves are designed to be dangerous for the men. In "Guts and Glory," a poker chip is tied to the "meanest, toughest" bull possible. Prisoners are then tasked with taking the chip off the bull while avoiding horns and hooves. Then there's "Convict Poker," in which a raging bull is released onto a circle of inmates. There is no actual card game, the inmates just have to conquer their fear and remain seated while the bull tears apart their opponents. Last man sitting wins.

Angola Rodeo proponents, some of whom are prisoners themselves, say the event allows the men to experience freedom they wouldn't otherwise experience. And the funds raised from the rodeo go toward inmate education programs and funerals for prisoners. But one would think there has to be a better way to raise funds for people in prison than setting them before one-ton animals in bloodsport. We thought the days in which prisoners fought animals for hooting crowds ended with the fall of Rome.

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