Monday, April 22, 2013


40 Years of Guts & Glory

   The Angola Rodeo, the longest running prison rodeo in the nation, got its start in 1965.  The first arena was small, built by a handful of dedicated inmates and personnel.  It wasn't much in those days, and the rodeo was stages just for the entertainment of prisoners and employees.  But it was fun.
   The 1967 rodeo was opened to the general public on a limited basis.  There were no stands.  Spectators had to sit on apple crates and the hoods of their cars to watch the performance.

   The success on the 1967 and 1968 rodeos prompted constructions of a 4,500 seat arena for the 1969 rodeo.  A near disaster occurred when the bleachers collapsed during one of the shows.  Spectators weren't alarmed, most didn't even get up.  They sat on the collapsed structure and continued to watch.  The 1971 rodeo was the wettest in history, but the show went on.
  As years passed, the rodeo grew in size, adding events and sponsorships.  The official Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rules were adopted in 1972 and the rodeo became a permanent fixture.

   The Angola Prison Rodeo is a professionally produced rodeo.  Angola contracts with professional rodeo stock contractors to provide the rodeo stock used in events; professional judges are contracted with to objectively judge each event.  In addition, to ensure inmate participant safety, professional rodeo clowns are always present in the arena during events.  A full complement of emergency services personnel are on site to provide medical assistance to inmate and spectators.

   In 1997, spectator capacity was expanded by 1000 seats and construction of a roof over the seating area began to provide increased comfort for spectators under Louisiana's blazing sun.  Hobbycraft space was also expanded to the point where it is no longer just a little concession area on the side for some inmate organizations to make a few bucks.  It is now an all day, full blown arts and crafts festival, complete with entertainment and food galore.  The arts and crafts festival begins at 9 a.m. and continues throughout the rodeo which begins at 2 p.m. each Sunday in October.  Many fans come to the rodeo for the arts and crafts show alone.

   Ticket, concession, and craft sales for the next two years broke all records, prompting the administration to build another arena.  Construction began on the new stadium in April 2000 and increased capacity to 7,500.  The new stadium was completed for the first rodeo in 2000.
   What began 40 years ago as a "fun" thing by a handful of rodeo loving inmates and employees is now big business.  Proceeds from the Angola Prison Rodeo cover rodeo expenses and supplement the Louisiana State Penitentiary Inmate Welfare Fund which provides for inmate educational and recreational supplies.

Angola Prison Rodeo Charter

   There is widespread recognition today about the Angola Prison Rodeo which was formally established in 1964.
   To clearly define goals and objectives of the Angola Prison Rodeo, the 2003 Angola Prison Rodeo Committee created a Charter, and amended it in March 2006.  This Charter demonstrates the Angola Prison Rodeo Committee's commitment to stewardship of any proceeds derived from the productions of the Angola Prison Rodeo.
   It is assumed that the rodeo was initially established to provide a source of recreation for the inmate populations as well as to provide a source of entertainment for employees of the Louisiana State Penitentiary and the immediate surrounding community.  Eventually, the Angola Prison was expanded to include spectators from the general public.

   Recognizing the potential for the growth of this unique event, since the 1995 rodeo season the Angola Prison Rodeo Committee has strived to provide a professional rodeo production which would prove beneficial to the internal inmate economy, but would also be beneficial to the Parish of West Feliciana tourism industry.  Soliciting help and  cooperation form the inmate populations provided an important mechanism to protect and improve the quality of the Angola Prison Rodeo, both economically and environmentally.
   The objective of the Angola Prison Rodeo remains to provide the prison population at Louisiana State Penitentiary with an opportunity for positive behavior changes.


  1. Grand Entry-Angola Rough Riders enter the arena at full gallop and colors are presented.
  2. Bust out-All six chutes open simultaneously, releasing 6 angry bulls, with temporarily attached inmate cowboys.  The last man to remain on the bull wins the event.
  3. Bareback Riding-Riders are expected to keep one hand in the air, and must stay on the horse for 8 seconds to qualify.
  4. Wild Horse Race-Six wild horses are simultaneously released into the arena with short ropes dragging behind them.  Three-man teams attempt to grab the ropes and hold the horse long enough for a team member to mount.  The first team to cross the finish line while still on top of the horse is the winner.
  5. Barrel Racing-This is the only event in which inmates do not participate.  It is a tour stop for The Girl's Rodeo Association.
  6. Bull-Dogging-The animal is placed in a chute, with two cowboys positioned just outside the chute.  Their job is to wrestle the animal to the ground as quickly as possible.
  7. Buddy Pick-Up-This event requires one man on a horse (riding bareback) to navigate the length of the arena, pick up another inmate who is standing on a barrel, and race back to the finish line.
  8. Wild Cow Milking-Teams of inmate cowboys chase the animals around the arena trying to extract a little milk.  The first team to bring milk to the judge win the prize.
  9. Bull Riding-This dangerous and wide open event is what the fans come to see.  Inexperienced inmate sit on top of a 2,000 pound Brahma bull.  To be eligible for the coveted "All-Around Cowboy" title, a contestant must successfully complete the ride (6 seconds).  The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's rules govern this event.
  10. Convict Poker-Four inmate cowboys sit at a table in the middle of the arena playing a friendly game of poker.  Suddenly, a wild bull is released with the sole purpose of unseating the poker players.  The last man remaining seated is the winner.
  11. Guts & Glory-A chit (poker chip) is tied to the meanest, toughest Brahma bull available.  The object is to get close enough to the bull in order to snatch the chit.  This is the last event of the day, and perhaps the most exciting.


s'mores popcorn

Today is The Secret Recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned a fabulous blog called The Weekend Gourmet. I was thrilled to get Wendy’s blog. We also belong to Sunday Supper together so I was thrilled to see her name in my inbox. I just knew I was going to find tons of cool recipes to pull from. I mean she is a powerhouse in the kitchen. She cooks up meals and snacks and ice cream. I was really drawn to her Wolf’s Wonderful Peanut Butter Brownie Fudge Sundaes but there’s not enough of us peanut butter lovers in the house right now. So I’m saving that until Christmas time. I want to make it for my brother when he comes over. He’s a peanut butter nut. After looking at tons of recipes and making myself seriously hungry I saw that she had a popcorn category. Naturally I went to take a look see. I knew immediately the s’mores had to be made. Such a cool idea. You know me and popcorn. It’s a huge love of mine. Like stalker kind of love. Like lock me up and throw away the key kind of love.
I heard through the grapevine that popcorn is off limits to anyone with diverticulitis. I may have bawled like a little baby when I heard that. I could not wrap my head around a life without popcorn so I started doing some research, and by research I mean “google”. Turns out Dr. Oz says that popcorn thing is a rumour. Seriously, I now love Dr. Oz. Like stalker kind of love. Like stand outside his window and stare while eating popcorn kind of love. So I’ve tested it out and here’s what I learned. I can eat popcorn in moderation. I can eat popcorn if I am feeling well. If I try to eat it while I’m already flared up, well, that’s not a good idea. But day to day it doesn’t seem to bother me. I’m still in the learning phase so experimenting is how I figure out what I can eat and what’s off limits. I’m happy to report Lunie can continue her love affair with popcorn. And Dr. Oz.

s'mores popcorn

4.8 from 9 reviews
S’Mores Popcorn
Recipe type: snack
An easy recipe to make s’mores popcorn that will make your whole family do the happy dance!
  • 10 cups popcorn
  • 16 ounces milk chocolate for drizzling
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups mallow bits
  • 24 graham cookies, broken or smashed
  • 2 to 4 ounces of milk chocolate, shaved or cut into pieces
  1. Pop your popcorn. I do mine old school on the stove. Take a large stock pot and pour veggie or canola oil so it covers the bottom of the pot. Turn on medium heat and let it get hot but not scorching hot. Dump in 1 cup of kernels, and let them start to warm up. I don’t cover yet. Every little bit give the stock pot a swirl or shake. Once the first piece pops cover the pot. Turn heat down one notch. Let it start to pop like crazy. Right at the point it just starts to slow down, I take mine off the heat and let the rest pop. This keeps it from burning.
  2. Now take 10 cups of popcorn and dump it out on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  3. Melt ½ your chocolate and butter in the microwave. Check it every 30 seconds and stir, it should only take 1 minute to 1½ minutes to cook. Now drizzle all over the popcorn.
  4. Take ½ your mallow bits and pour over top.
  5. Take half your graham crumbs and toss over top.
  6. Now melt the second batch of chocolate and repeat.
  7. Toss the second batch of mallow bits over top.
  8. Toss the second batch of graham crumbs over top.
  9. Stir them around.
  10. Toss shaved chocolate over top.
  11. Pop in the fridge for a bit to set up if you like. Or leave out and it’ll dry up on its own.
  12. Serve with a big old I miss summer smile!
I used milk chocolate but you can use whatever kind you prefer. It’s always better to use a good quality chocolate for these types of things. I used up the last of the milk chocolate we bought at Whole Foods. I also popped more popcorn than necessary. 1 cup yields way more than 10 cups so just use ½ cup of kernels if looking to do about 8 to 10 cups. I wanted extra for noshing on.

s'mores popcorn

Cool right. I just love me some funky popcorn. You can change this up and use dark chocolate. I know a lot of people love the dark and it does photograph better. But I’m a milk chocolate kind of gal. Just the way it is.
Thanks to Wendy at The Weekend Gourmet for such a cool recipe. I did not change too much about it. I called it “slightly adapted” but that might even be a stretch. I only changed up a few minor things to suit my own taste. That’s the cool thing about recipes. People get all freaked out and intimidated by recipes, or won’t try something cuz they don’t like one ingredient. Live dangerously people. Change stuff up and experiment. It’s how you learn. Be fearless in the kitchen, if it fails just have your kids run to the store for more ingredients. I mean that is why we all have kids right.? To run errands for us once their old enough. If you’re kids aren’t old enough to run to the store just keep a place that deliveries on speed dial. See, I’m always helpful. Putting out fires everywhere I go. Miss helpful extraordinaire!
If you love popcorn feel free to check out these posts as well. Just click the photo for the recipe. I’m a bit of a popcorn fanatic as you can see. Enjoy!

pink popcorn
Click photo for recipe!
chocolate popcorn
Click photo for recipe!
turtle popcorn
Click photo for recipe!
chocolate popcorn
Click photo for recipe!
peanut butter popcorn
Click photo for recipe!
party mix
Click photo for recipe!


   There is a holiday for every day in April.  For some days, there are even two.  Here is how you can celebrate at least one every day in the month of April.

  • April 1st, National Fun Day-It's also April Fools Day, which is why it is such a fun day.

  • April 2nd, Reconciliation Day-This day doesn't sound like much fun, but who knows...you could end up with a new-old friend.

  • April 3rd, Tangible Karma Day-Have you ever watched "My Name is Earl ?"  Make a list of all the bad things you have done and fix them or Karma will make bad things happen to you.
  • April 4th, Victims of Violence Wholly Day-Befriend a victim of violence and do something nice for that person.
  • April 5th, National Deep Dish Pizza Day-Sounds like a delicious holiday.  I bet Domino's will be busy on this day.
  • April 6th, Drowsy Driver Awareness Day-If you are a drowsy driver, make everyone aware of the fact.  You wouldn't want to hurt anyone.
  • April 7th, No Housework Day-For me, pretty much everyday is No Housework Day.
  • April 8th, National D.A.R.E. Day-Say  "No" to drugs and alcohol...at least for this one day.
  • April 9th, National Cherish an Antique Day- Visit your parents or grandparents on this day.
  • April 10th, National Sibling Day-Have no siblings?  No problem-adopt one for a couple hours.
  • April 11th, Barbershop Quartet Day-Go out and listen to some harmonizing.
  • April 12th, Walk on Your Wild Side Day-Go out and raise some cane!!
  • April 13th, Tax Freedom Day-Does this mean I don't have to pay taxes on anything today?
  • April 14th, Pan America Day-I still can't figure out what Pan America Day is.  All I know is Congress declared April 14th a holiday and every year on this day the President makes a speech.  So I guess you could listen to his speech (with the t.v. on mute).
  • April 15th, Take a Wild Guess Day-Every time someone asks you a question, make something up, but keep a straight face when you're doing it.
  • April 16th, National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day-Try to think how this would go over at work.  Maybe not such a good idea.
  • April 17th, Blah! Blah! Blah! Day-I see you talking but nothing but gibberish is coming out.
  • April 18th, Pet Owners Independence Day-Does this mean pet owners get to do whatever they want all day?
  • April 20th, National Pot Smokers Day-That's all we need is a bunch of stoners walking around.  They're all probably all at the grocery store because they have the munchies.
  • April 21st, Kindergarten Day-You know how you sometime wish you could be a kid again? Well, for this day you can.
  • April 22nd, National Jelly Bean Day- Gobble up some of these sugar filled pellets.
  • April 23rd, Talk Like Shakespeare Day-Or just talk like you're from England, it's the same thing.  Cheerio!
  • April 24th, Eeyore's Birthday-Throw him a birthday party with all your neighborhood friends, Why Bother!! is probably what he would say.
  • April 25th, DNA Day- Leave a trail of blood for someone to follow (just kidding).
  • April 27th, Morse Code Day-Speak in Morse Code today.  Beep  Beep  Beep! Beep Beep!
  • April 28th, Workers Memorial Day-There need to be more of these kind of days throughout the year.
  • April 29th, National Dance Day- Rather than walking, dance everywhere you go (like that won't get you noticed by people).
  • April 30th, National Hairball Awareness Day- Maybe your cat can leave a little extra one for you in your shoe!