LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The fun is just getting started at the Angelina County Benefit Rodeo, which kicks off tonight.
Cowboys, cowgirls, and their horse partners have settled in, and they spent Wednesday practicing their skills.
Keith Isley said his many years in the rodeo clown business has taught him that preparing for performances includes more than just putting on the makeup.
"If I can get me two cups of coffee, three pieces of candy, some chewing gum? There is no holding back now. I'm just wide open, wired up," Isley said.
But, candy bars aren't a part of Isley's partner's routines.
Isley's trick horse Easy gets a bath and then goes through his lineup of crowd-pleasing tricks.
"Just like an athlete, an athlete just doesn't go out and start performing, whatever he does," Isley said. "So, same way with a horse. My horses, I like to loosen them up to where they stretch and get them prepared such as that."
'Punkin, the miniature horse, is another member of Isley's team.
On a good night, Isley said the crowd helps more than anything.
"I feed off the crowd," Isley said. "If it's a good crowd of people, you know, you just get that energy, the electricity."
Isley said every time he's gearing up for a show, he remembers a time where he asked a kid to join him.
"And right before we were going into the arena, he's standing there beside me, just as serious as he could be," Isley said. "And, he punched me with his elbow and looked up, and he says hey, let's do this thing."
The rodeo will be going on at 7 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.