It is officially rodeo season in Lufkin and the Lions Club is hoping for another successful year.
"This is the greatest show on dirt," Mike Mathis said. "We will feature Keith Isley this year. He is the five-time rodeo entertainer of the year. We will of course have freestyle bull fighting. That of course is always exciting. We will bring the best cowboys and award winning livestock. All put together in a great package that will help some amazing charities. it is something we are proud of."
The rodeo will be April 25-28 at the George H. Henderson Expo Center. Tickets range from $8 - $13 for presale and $9- $14 at the gate. The events will kick off each night at 7 pm. All advance tickets can be bought at Boot Barn in Lufkin. Returning this year is the annual auto raffle. Instead of a truck, the event will be giving away a Jeep. Tickets for the drawing are still $1.
"We have produced millions of dollars to charities brought here in Angelina County," Mathis said. "Our calf scramble this year will get some deserving students money for college education."
The kick off event on Monday also introduced the public to their year's rodeo hero from the State Supported Living Center. Earnest Watson will be handling the honor this year.
Watson's bio from the Rodeo:
Earnest Watson was born in Nacogdoches County on September 16, 1966 and moved to the Lufkin State Supported Living Center at seventeen years of age. Earnest is very kind and caring and seems to have the most joy when spending time with friends. In fact, he has a "Special Friend" volunteer, Dan Maxwell who retired from the facility several years ago. Dan comments that he was ready to retire from working every day but he just could not imagine retiring his friendship with Earnest. Dan eventually left the area and moved to Austin, Texas to be an active grandpa but monthly he drives to East Texas for a visit with Earnest. They enjoy eating out, shopping and visiting local museums and other area attractions.
Earnest has a very special lady friend (or two) and he gets great pleasure in visiting with them on a regular basis. He really enjoys pampering them often with cards and small gifts. In fact, Earnest is that kind of a friend to almost everyone he meets. Some hobbies include taking walks outside, watching cars and waving at people coming and going. He enjoys old time country music, drawing pictures and art projects. He enjoys good comedy and is always ready for fishing at the facility's Woodland Retreat. Earnest Watson loves going to the rodeo each and every year and is proud to represent the facility as the 2018 Rodeo Hero!
Attendees were also greeted by this year's Miss Rodeo, Emily LaRoe.
Tickets for the annual event will go on sale on April 2.