LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - After being sidelined due to the onset of COVID-19 pandemic, the Angelina Benefit Rodeo is back at the George H. Henderson Jr. Expo Center.
“We’re very excited to be able to put the rodeo back on this year,” Lufkin Host Lions Club President Jeff Harkness said.
It’s a tradition dating back more than 60 years.
The rodeo, put on by the Lufkin Host Lions Club, is back after COVID-19 canceled last year’s event.
This year, organizers say there are safety measures in place.
“We want to be cautious about what is happening here,” rodeo announcer Mike Mathis said. The mask mandate is gone in Texas, but if it makes you feel comfortable, wear your mask. At the same, our people doing anything with you will be taking steps to keep them safe, you safe, and at the same time, make sure we have a great rodeo.”
More than 600 cowboys and cowgirls have entered this year’s rodeo.
“We’re going to be bigger than ever than it was the year before, Harkness said. We’re going to have the motorcycle show. They’re going to be doing their jumps. We also have the bull riding, calf roping, the steer wrestling and the barrel racing.
Harkness said the event also does more than entertain.
“All the money that we take in and that we have by our great sponsors, all that money comes right back into the community,” Harkness explained. “It goes to the State Supported Living Center, Cinco de Mayo, it goes to various organizations and helps out a lot of different people.”
Mathis said in past years they’ve raised more than $100,000 and hopes to do so again this time around.
“At the Lion’s Club, of course, part of our function has and always has been, to help in our community and last year without the rodeo, that seriously hampered our ability to do so,” Mathis said. “This gets us back to our vehicle, back to our opportunity to make things better for a whole lot of people. So all and all, it’s a win-win and we’re glad to be back part of it.”
The rodeo lasts through Saturday with a special giveaway on the last day.
Event organizers say with the help of sponsors, they are giving away a 2021 Jeep Gladiator. Those raffle tickets to enter the contest are $1 each. One winner will be selected.