Saturday, March 7 – It was going to be difficult to make this day any better, for Jackie, Daryl, Fred and I had spent a perfect afternoon drinking Shiner Bock and Lonestar longnecks down up in Luckenbach while listening to cowboy singer songwriters sing their cowboy country songs. But alas, we had somewhere else to be on this night – the Tejas Rodeo!
As Garth Brooks sings in one of his songs, “It’s bulls and blood; it’s dust and mud; it’s the roar of a Sunday crowd. It’s the white in his knuckles; the gold in his buckle; he’ll win the next go ’round. It’s boots and chaps; it’s cowboy hats; it’s spurs and latigo. It’s the ropes and the reins; and the joy and the pain; and they call the thing rodeo.” Rodeo, indeed! We were a party of 11 in total – four adults plus the girls and their friends – and what an absolutely fabulous Saturday evening we all had together!
We got there early so we could stroll around the rodeo grounds and enjoy some good Texas barbeque, then we all took our seats in the bleachers and waited for the action. After the Tejas Rough Riders team demonstrated their precision horseback riding and raced around the rodeo arena, we honored our country with the singing of the National Anthem, and then were treated to a little rodeo history. During cattle drives of old, cowboys would boast to one another about who had the fastest horse, who was the best cattle wrangler, who could ride the roughest bull, etc., and competition in these and other categories was born. In the spirit of these western folk heroes, modern rodeos like the Tejas Rodeo allow today’s cowboys and cowgirls to test their skills against one another.
The most popular event of the evening was the bull riding. In this competition, a cowboy sits atop a bucking bull, and once released from the stock pen, tries to hold on for an 8-second ride. If he holds on for this long, he receives points for his form. Of the 15 or so bull riders, only four stayed on and got a score. These points accumulate all through rodeo season, so for several reasons, it pays to try to stay on the bull! This event certainly demonstrated that all of these males have lots of testosterone!
Other events we watched included both singles and two-man team roping, where both speed and accuracy matter. Barrel racing tested cowgirls’ ability to tightly maneuver their mounts around three barrels and reach the finish line in the lowest amount of time – man, these ladies could ride!
Two crowd favorites involved children. In the Mutton Bustin’ competition, future cowboys and cowgirls weighing less than 55 pounds gear up and ride a sheep, hoping to be the one that holds on to his wooly fur the longest. The Calf Scramble called kids out of the audience where, after a series of funny “warm up exercises” lead by the bullfighters dressed up like clowns, they ran around chasing after four calves, each with a ribbon tied to its tail. The four children who wrangled the calf and retrieved the ribbon won a prize. Knowing our Kristin, it’s not surprising that she came back with one of them!
Of course no rodeo event would be complete without a mechanical bull. It was fun to watch all the kids give it a try; the better they were, the more challenging the bull operator made it for them. Our own Cowboy Fred gave it a go – see how he fared. For the record, he got his 8-second ride in, but his exit off the bull was a bit rough and he didn’t stick his landing.
Following all of this rodeo fun – nearly two hours of it – we all retreated to another spot on the rodeo grounds where live music played and folks of all ages enjoyed some fine country line dancing and two-steppin’. A fabulous time was had by all on this outstanding rodeo night!
Hover your cursor over the photo, below, then click on the arrows to see some of Fred’s AWESOME photos from the rodeo: