More than $100,000 was raised to support several local charities during the annual Angelina Benefit Rodeo, which ran from Wednesday to Saturday, and was hosted by the Lufkin Host Lions Club and Angelina County Mounted Patrol. The event is recognized as one of the top five midsize venues by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association contestants, Jeff Todd, president of the Rodeo Association and Lufkin Host Lions Club, said.
“This is a well-planned and thought-out rodeo that showcases a lot of talent from East Texas,” Todd said. “We plan for this months ahead of time. We have to get sponsors, sell tickets, get the arenas ready, work the concession stand and make sure the rodeo runs smoothly.”
Saturday’s events began with an introduction of officials, bareback riding and the championship of mutton bustin’. Twelve riders ages 5-7 competed to win the first-place trophy and Malcolm Deason, 6, of Lufkin, won with 93 points.
“This is my first year to do it and I liked it,” Deason said. “It was not my sheep, but I have been practicing on my parent’s backs for three days. I will put the trophy in my room.”
Deason said he has been coming to the rodeo for as long as he can remember.
“I love coming to the rodeo,” Deason said.” My favorite is bull riding. If my parents will let me, one day I want to bull ride.”
His father, Malcolm Deason Sr., said he will support whatever his son’s ambitions are.
“I am proud that he tried mutton bustin’ and won,” he said. “On Wednesday he was nervous and I thought he would give up, be he didn’t.”
Other events included steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. Todd said the rodeo is a fun event for participants and viewers and all the money goes back to Angelina County.
“To raise more money for charities, Southern Dodge and Dupree Tire donated a Dodge Ram that we raffled off,” Todd said. “The amount we are able to donate depends on how much we make during the rodeo. Ticket sales, raffle and concession sales all go toward the charities. Every night we showcased a different event to bring in more people.”
Melissa Jones of Diboll won the drawing for the Dodge Ram.
Saturday’s showcased event was a motor cross demonstration by Team FMX from Florida.
“We thought it would be enjoyable because it’s not something you see every day,” Todd said. “The biggest crowd pleaser is bull riding. Every night we were almost sold out, so it shows that there is a little bit of everything for people to enjoy.”
More than 300 volunteers helped make this year’s rodeo possible, Todd said.
“I would like to thank the community for their support, especially during hard economic times,” Todd said.
“Every year we get tremendous support from the community. Thanks to folks in the hosting organizations for putting in a lot of work. I had a lot of support behind me this year.”