LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Each year the Angelina County Benefit Rodeo brings smiles, memories, and fun to East Texas, and this year is no exception. This year's rodeo is one of the first events to be held in the newly renovated expo center.
"I think that's kind of fitting because, actually, the very first event that ever happened here when the expo was brand new was the Angelina Benefit Rodeo," said rodeo coordinator, Mike Mathis.
Each year, the Lufkin Hosts Lions Club brings the rodeo to Lufkin. Countless hours of planning and volunteer labor, from dozens of Lions Club members, go into making it a success.
"Guys run the concession stands. They sell the tickets. They take up the tickets. This is all volunteer labor that makes this rodeo happen. That makes it work. That puts it on," said Mathis.
Mathis, says it's the "labor of love" that the volunteers put into the rodeo, that continues to bring the show back each year.
"That's why we're able to actually net a profit. That's why we're able to keep it here in the community and do great things with it through charities," said Mathis.
Mathis says it takes about a year to plan each rodeo. And, each year, they plan to make it bigger and better than before.
"We start the week after this one's over, planning for next year. We think about the acts to bring, the people to get here," said Mathis.
One of the premiere acts this year was the act of the "One-Armed Bandit". 12 time entertainer of the year, John Payne, says he's happy to show Angelina County his talents.
"If you don't think the one-armed bandit show, alone, is worth the price of a ticket and can come out there and convince my mule of that, we'll give your money back," said Payne.
The rodeo will continue through Saturday night. Tickets will be available at the front gate of the expo center.