The first week of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo I explored just the grounds. The second and third week I attended the actual rodeo. I had been to a rodeo at the Pennsylvania Farm Show last winter, but wow, that didn’t prepare me for the sheer size of this rodeo, which felt at least 10 times bigger!
I don’t know the first thing about rodeos, but it is easy enough to catch on as you watch. Basically the goal for each event (with events such as steer wrestling, calf roping, barrel racing, bull riding and saddle bronc) is to just get the quickest or longest time. For events like the bull and bronc riding, you have to reach 8 seconds and you are also judged on how well you held on. One of the calf roping teams won in an arena record of 4.1 seconds. Wow!
I had the opportunity to be there on one of the championship nights, and the crowd was really hyped up! All of the winners took home $50,000! It may seem like a quick and easy way to make a lot of money, but you can really tell that these rodeo goers work hard, and the work is dangerous! One of the guys was bucked off his bull, and he ended up underneath the bull, hit his mouth, and he lost some teeth!
Some of my favorite parts of the rodeo weren’t the actual competitive events, but the just-for-fun ones. There was the Mutton Bustin’ where little kids held on tight to running sheep and tried to make it to the end of the arena. They were all so cute! Then there were the chuck wagon races. One of the drivers actually fell from the wagon on one of the other nights that I didn’t go and had to go to the hospital. Ouch!
At the end of the night, after all the events had ended, United Airlines had a “Flying High Award” in which they awarded two free plane tickets to the person who was deemed to have the worst injury. They would show a replay of the cowboys “flying high” off of their broncs or bulls, and the person who got the most cheers from the crowds would win the tickets.A nice way of giving back and showing their support!
But my absolute favorite part was the horse legacy. They showed a horse family that was four generations, including a filly named Honey that was born right at the rodeo. The announcer talks about how they help keep the rodeo tradition live on. Then all of a sudden a ton of horses come out and they all run free in the stadium under a bunch of spotlights. Even if you don’t know a thing about the rodeo, I assure you, if you saw it, you would get misty eyed. I know I sure did, and I saw it three times!
The rodeo only just ended last week, but I’m already looking forward to next year! It was definitely a quintessential Texas experience.