LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Those of us from East Texas, well, we all have a little bit of cowboy in us at heart.
And if you like watching cowboys barrel race, or bull dog, or bronco bust, or rope cattle, you'll be excited to hear that the rodeo is coming today to an arena near you.
The 2012 Angelina County Benefit Rodeo starts today in Lufkin, and it's more than just a great entertainment or economic event for Angelina County. It's an event that so many people look forward to every year -- and maybe none more than announcer Mike Mathis.
He has been involved in the benefit rodeo for more than 30 years now, and he had a unique analogy for how Angelina County embraces rodeo weekend.
"It's something, I guess it's a little bit like Christmas or any other holiday. It's the time when the people feel good, they go somewhere, they do something, they're involved in something. The entire community gets behind this one and embraces it as only Angelina County can," he said.
And for Mathis, the Angelina County Benefit Rodeo is personally special.
"Of course, this is home. Rodeo is my life," Mathis said. "I am lucky enough to travel and announce at about 40 plus rodeos a year across the country. This is the one that helped get me the start in the mark in professional rodeo, to get to do what I do today."
And for 49 years now, the rodeo has brought the best of the rodeo world to Angelina County.
"This rodeo is one that, during the course of the week, we'll bring almost 600 men and women to town that are here to compete. They'll be here to spend money, to be part of the community that week," Mathis said.
Mathis calls the rodeo an event the whole family will enjoy.
"Everyone's got a little bit of cowboy in them, so all you've got to do is just let yours come to the front. I don't care if you're 3 or 300, you're going to enjoy yourself there," he said. "So I think it's a great time that just puts a little excitement in the air and makes something great happen. And a professional event comes to town."
Those professional acts include John Payne, the One-Armed Bandit, who has been to the rodeo before. And Keith Isley, who is six-time Rodeo Clown of the Year, is making his first trip to the Angelina County rodeo.
The rodeo starts today and goes through Saturday the 28th at the George Henderson Expo Center in Lufkin
Tickets start at $8 and can be purchased at Baskin's in Lufkin or any area Brookshire Brother's store. They're $1 more at the gate.
Proceeds go in part to support the Lufkin State Supported Living Center.