What better to do on a cloudy, drizzly day that visit the Texas Prison Museum! I could really go on a rant here about how frustrating it was for me to see all the incredibly gifted and outstanding artists that have been in and out of Huntsville instead of utilizing their talents in the art world but, it “is what it is” – truthfully, I’m just jealous that I wasn’t born with any artistic wonder but NOT jealous that I’m not incarcerated for sure! 🙂 Anyway, enough of me blabbing…
This wooden motorcycle was started around the turn of the century by inmate Mark Cahill in the Ferguson Unit Craft Shop but then he got his privileges taken away and the motorcycle was donated – unfinished. However, in 2014 Mr. Cahill took up residence again in Huntsville, was asked to complete the project and there ya have it!
Let’s move right along to this next art – again, sorry about the poor images but it was hard to get decent shots for me as I didn’t want to be rude to other patrons 🙂 (and I’m not “there” yet as a photographer 🙂 ) . But isn’t this crazy – urrr – please use your artistic talents on the outside 🙂 !!!! (sorry, I’ll shut up about that now :))
Allow me to provide some background about the Texas Prison Rodeo. In 1931 Texas Prison System’s General Manager, Lee Simmons decided to start a Prison Rodeo for the general recreation for the prisoners and entertainment for prison staff and their families. In a few short years, the events grew into a paid event with loads of public attendees, (our family personally attending too). Initially, it was only for experienced ranch hand type of prisoners. In the 1940’s it became open for any man with enough guts and no prison issues within the past year to become eligible to participate in the tryouts. They even had a “hard money” event where 40 inmates in red shirts would face a wild bull and try to grab to sack of money from it’s horns!!! The money would be between $50 and $1500 – can you imagine this taking place today?!! I can remember THAT part of the rodeo to this day along with how terrified I was to watch! We saw Freddy Fender perform that day in the mid ’70s so I was probably 10-12 years old. October of 1986 was the last rodeo and The Judds were the entertainment, that was the end of “The Wildest Show Behind Bars”.
All of this was made with soap by an inmate on the “sly”
Ok, that wraps up our tour of the Texas Prison Museum. But wait…
Just out of curiosity, (and please be respectful of other’s beliefs)…are you FOR or AGAINST the Death Penalty?