This is mental. When I first discovered the Angolan Prison Rodeo and then looked through the films I just still couldn’t be sure that it wasn’t somebody’s idea of a practical joke, but it’s not. The Angolan Prison Rodeo is an event which pits hardened convicts against even harder bulls in a total war of attrition. This is about as close as it gets to real life ‘Running Man’.

It is held at the Louisiana State Penitentiary which picked up the Angolan name as it was originally a farm worked by slaves from Angola. What started life in 1964 as a closed event and a way of allowing the inmates to expend all their aggression, has now turned into a full-on media event which attracts TV crews, journalists and spectators from all over the world. Both the inmates and the prison officers have a long-held reputation for being tough bordering on brutal and the prison itself has a very murky legacy of harshness and injustice. Put all this together and you’ve got some incredibly uncompromising confrontations.

The rodeo is split into eleven events and we’ve selected our top 3 favourites:


Bust Out:

Six bulls are released in to the arena at the same time, the winner is the last man left on a bull.


Wild Cow Milking:

The animals are chased around the arena by cowboys trying to milk them, the winner is the first person to bring some milk back to the judge.


Convict Poker:

Perhaps the best event this one, in which 4 genuine inmates sit down at a table in the arena playing poker as the bulls are released. The last man left seated is the winner.

It has now also become big business with annual revenue of around $450,000 which helps to pay for educational programmes, repairs to the chapels and inmate funerals. It’s held on every year, one weekend in April and every Sunday in October. It does get you thinking, doesn’t it? They must love it there, people used to escape from Colditz from solitary using a toothbrush, here they have full on public events with tonnes of live battering rams and nobody goes anywhere.