Art Car Parade preview

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The Art Car Parade is an annual event in Houston, and I’ve been told by many people that it is quite the quirky thing to attend.

Unfortunately the parade is on a Saturday, (like most events) and I work weekends. However, I lucked out this time because there was a special preview of about half the cars at the Discovery Green park on Thursday night.

It was really neat to see so many different cars. The collection of “junk” on some of them was just amazing! The owners of the cars really get to show off their artistic abilities and their creativity. My favorite car was  one with singing fish and lobsters. The lobsters and the fish would move in sync with songs! It was hilarious!

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Rodeo concerts: Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley

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After the rodeo events are completed, there is a concert each night. Out of three weeks, the majority of the concerts are country artists, which is great for a country music fan like me. There are other genres of music featured though, like pop artists, and there are Tejano bands on Tejano Appreciation Day, and Alicia Keys performed on Black Heritage Day. Something for everyone, really.

Months ago, when the concert lineup was announced, I went gung ho and bought tickets for three concerts: Willie Nelson, Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley. The last two concerts were back to back on Friday and Saturday. I ALMOST dreaded going. Almost. But now that they are all done and over with, I’m glad that I did go overboard, even though I was super tired for a week!

I’m not going to claim that I am a huge Willie Nelson fan, because I am not, or at least wasn’t up until the rodeo. I am familiar with and love his more popular works like On the Road Again and Mommas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys, but besides that I didn’t really know his stuff. So I listened to a lot of his music in the weeks before the concert to become more familiar, and I gained a lot of new favorites in the process. Basically I just knew that seeing Willie Nelson was quite the opportunity because he is a legend, and let’s face it, he might not be around for a lot longer.

I went to the Dierks Bentley concert because he is an old staple favorite of mine. I have seen Dierks Bentley three times now, also in Pennsylvania and New York. However, I admit that I kind of fell off the bandwagon with his music for a big chunk in the middle of his career, so I didn’t really know about half of the songs that he played during his concert, but it was still enjoyable. My favorite songs of his are What Was I Thinkin’ (his first single) and some of his more recent stuff like Different for Girls and Drunk on a Plane.

I was so burnt out by the time the Brad Paisley concert arrived that I almost considered skipping it. I am glad I didn’t because that concert ended up being my favorite. I bought tickets to his concert because I have liked the majority of his songs over the years. I guess I am more of a Brad Paisley fan than I thought, or maybe I just lucked out because Brad Paisley played all of my favorites including: Online, I’m Gonna Miss Her, American Saturday Night, Old Alabama, Mud on the Tires, I’m Still a Guy, etc. etc.

The prices for the tickets are excellent, which is why I was able to afford three. I got nosebleed seats for Willie and Brad (which weren’t all that bad to be honest) and first tier seats for Dierks, but I only spent about $75 total.

I’m already anticipating what the lineup will be for next year! I keep telling myself that I will not do three concerts next year, or at least not two in a row, but who knows! I am so excited to be living in a place where country music is at the forefront!

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Rodeo

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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.

Pictures:

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Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

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The three-week Houston rodeo is underway. I went last week and ended up being on the grounds for seven hours! And I was never bored; there was always something to do or look at. And I’ve only experienced the grounds so far. The real fun starts this weekend, when I have the first of three concerts/rodeos to attend.

Here are some highlights from my day:

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The shopping was amazing. Thank goodness I didn’t have much money to spend otherwise I could have easily bought myself a whole new wardrobe. I did buy one shirt though, which I plan to wear to the Willie Nelson concert this weekend!

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Lots of animals on display of course. My favorites were the baby chickens and the longhorn!

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This was a part of a neat exhibit called The Tour of Texas. There were sections dedicated to each area of Texas, and you got to learn about their native plants, animals, etc.

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The mascot of Houston Rodeo!

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The carnival area of the Rodeo was huge! There was a kids carnival and one for older people. I definitely wouldn’t go near most of the rides. I did however go on the nice, slow sky ride.

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Some type of herding event for riders. I had no idea what the premise was, but it was still interesting to watch!

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Pig racing is always a highlight!

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I also got to see an animal show. This is a bear cat. I’ve never seen one before. Apparently they smell like popcorn!

It was overall a great day. I’m glad I went on a Wednesday because it was value day because you get in for $5 instead of $10. It was so overrun with school kids though! One would have to have a lot of patience when going through the exhibits. (I usually do not.) But had I gone this week, during Houston School District’s spring break, I’m sure it would be much worse. The amounts of food were ridiculous. It took me forever to decide what I wanted to eat. First I had to sort out the crazy food from the normal food. (Alligator on a stick, anyone?) I ended up getting a bowl of chili and later had a cinnamon bun as a snack. Also, it was so neat seeing just about everyone in cowboy boots. I kept thinking to myself, “These are my people! I belong here!”

Stay tuned for more rodeo and concert pictures!

 

Go Texan Day

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Go Texan Day is the Friday before the Houston Rodeo starts. There was an outfit contest at work, so I had to participate. I don’t need an excuse to wear my cowboy boots!

This is an explanation of Go Texan Day that was provided by the local country radio station, The Bull:

“Go Texan Day happens the Friday before the Rodeo Houston Parade kicks off… and the entire population of our great city of Houston dresses like a buncha TEXANS! In 1954, at the time, the President of Rodeo Houston, Archer Romero made it official… and as Texans… we say THANK YOU!! In a nut shell… it’s intended to get everyone FIRED up for the WORLDS BIGGEST RODEO! Since then… most of the entire state has adopted the holiday… God Blessed Texas!”

I can totally get on board with this local holiday!

Here is the photo that was taken of us at work:

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The guy and the girl on the far right won best dressed cowgirl and cowboy. The girl in the middle of the front row, next to me, won most creative, but that was because no one else wanted to go up against her! Her only resources were cardboard boxes and paper, but she created a hat, vest, boots and a horse!

Here is a photo of just me:

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The Super Bowl

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So the Super Bowl has come and gone, and the $&#$%@! Patriots have won AGAIN. *sigh* I almost feel personally offended that they won in Houston, because I live here now, haha.

The last few days leading up to the game, and the day of the game itself was an experience to remember.

A week before the game, Derek and I drove around the stadium and took pictures of all the Super Bowl LI banners hanging on it. A lot of other people were doing the same thing.

I attended NFL Experience, which is an event that is hosted by every Super Bowl host city. It was a neat interactive place, with lots of displays, games, the opportunity to see NFL related TV shows being filmed live (I saw Von Miller of the Denver Broncos!), and of course, photo ops.

I also went to Super Bowl LIVE, the free fan festival that was held at Discovery Green park. That was less to do with football; anyone could go and have a good time. There were NASA exhibits, and there were even showings of the Puppy Bowl!

The day of the game itself I was freaked out about traffic because I have to drive right past the stadium on my way home from work. No car traffic, but so many people were walking around on the sidewalks, making their way to the stadium. I also saw a ton of people advertising how much their parking spaces were. I saw one for $120! Outrageous!

As much as I wanted to be at the game, I realized that most people in Houston were probably avoiding the game (and the prices) like the plague. The best seats in the house truly are your couch. It was extremely cool though when the Thunderbirds flew overhead, and it sounded like a rocket! I knew it was coming, but I didn’t expect it to be quite THAT loud. And I am pretty sure that I heard some of the fireworks during the halftime show.

Some pictures from Super Bowl week:

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Book of Mormon

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Last month Derek and I went to see The Book of Mormon. It was a show that has been on our radar for a while. When we first moved here, I kept seeing commercials for the show. I was able to buy tickets with money I had received for my birthday. That seems like ages ago!

The performance was at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. It was a really nice venue. Our seats were the front row for the top balcony. Nice to not have any heads in front of us!

I understand the show is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we thought the show was hilarious! I’m so glad we got the chance to go. In April, we’ve got tickets for Cirque du Soleil.

Also, I would like to mention: We decided to take the metro into downtown and walk to the Hobby Center to avoid parking costs. After getting on the metro, walking through all the buildings and then going to a Broadway award winning play, I had one of those, “Woah, we live here” moments!

Some photos at the Hobby Center:

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