The Huntsville (Walls) Prison Unit Rodeo Arena being torn down to make room for a park in Huntsville Texas.
Texas Prison Rodeo History.
The Texas Prison Rodeo was launched in 1931 during the depression years, being first held at the baseball park outside the "Walls" Unit. The baseball park, located on the east side of the prison, was normally home to the Walls Tigers baseball team. The rodeo was the brainchild of Lee Simmons, General Manager of the Texas Prison System. Simmons envisioned it as entertainment for employees and inmates. Welfare Director Albert Moore headed up the organization and planning for the early rodeos along with Warden Walter Waid and livestock supervisor, R. O. McFarland. The attendants included a small crowd of local citizens and prison. Simmons realized he had a winner on his hands. Two years later, over l5,000 fans traveled to Huntsville for the show. Soon, the Texas Prison Rodeo was drawing the largest crowds for a sporting event in the state of Texas. With a lifespan of more than 50 years, the Prison Rodeo became a Texas tradition, held every Sunday in October. Crowds grew to exceed 100,000 in some years.