ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Coordinating an event as large as the Angelina Benefit Rodeo isn't an easy job and takes a lot of help and preparation, but this wasn't Mike Mathis' first rodeo.
"For thirty years, I've had the pleasure of being a major part of it," said rodeo coordinator and announcer Mike Mathis. "As the rodeo coordinator, I try to make sure the rodeo works well with our sponsors, our partners, and the people that are here, along with a lot of other work."
He doesn't do all of this work by himself. Lufkin Host Lions Club members put a lot of time and physical labor into putting the rodeo together. This year was a little different and definitely more special than usual for Mike.
"A special plus this year, my son Kirk, is the president of the Lion's Club," said Mike. "I had that same job, that title many years ago, so it's a real honor for him to come along and take a real leadership role."
After watching his father put this rodeo together for years, Kirk was excited to take on this big role.
"Dad's been the coordinator of this rodeo since I was 5 or 6 years old, so I have grown up being around this rodeo in particular," Lufkin Host Lions Club President Kirk Mathis said. "It's pretty fun having some responsibility."
Mike couldn't be any prouder of the job his son has done.
"I've been amazed," said Mike. "My son has a much better detail program than I do and he takes care of things so well. He has worked very hard this year."
For Kirk, his father's praise has meant so much to him.
"I look up to dad. He's a great guy," Kirk said. "He's done a lot of great things for this rodeo and has been a good role model for sure."
Mike hopes that Kirk's sons will follow in their footsteps and keep the Mathis rodeo tradition alive and well for years to come.