I am from a city in the mid-west. I had no idea what a rodeo meant. After living in Houston for years now I admit that I thought it was a huge concert venue that latest several days. To entertain the guests before the concert began there were a few rides outside and then a few cowboy type stuff before the concerts began . . . boy was I wrong.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
"The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (TM), also called Rodeo Houston (TM), is
the world's largest livestock exhibition as well as the richest regular-season
PRCA rodeo event, held at Reliant Park in Houston, TX, USA. An average of almost
2 million attendees a year, which requires the support of more than 21,000
volunteers on nearly 100 committees. The event is 20 days long. It is kicked off
by the Downtown Rodeo Roundup held near Houston City Hall, the Downtown Rodeo parade and the Conoco Phillips Rodeo Run - 9+ and the World's Championship
Bar-B-Que Contest. The Show features championship Rodeo action including bull
riding, livestock judging, concerts, a carnival, pig racing, barbecue and the
Rodeo Uncorked! International Wine Competition, shopping, sales and livestock
auctions. The City of Houston celebrates this event with Go Texan Days, where
residents are encouraged to dress in western wear for the duration of the Show."
My teens started going to more and more concerts. Sugar told me all about the animals that she saw with the Tobias family at the livestock show. I admit that the definition is just words until you live it. J got me and five older kiddos tickets to one of the concerts. We met another family with 9 children. We walked into the concert and sat down to watch the "cowboy stuff". If I tell you that my favorite part is the Mutton Busters and you have never seen them you will think I am crazy but to my Texas friends they get what I am talking about. They also love to watch the children clinging to a sheep as it is released. So fun watching these little cowboys and cowgirls.
After a great concert our friends left and my children encouraged me to walk around. We walked through the carnival setting until about 11:00 p.m. We tried some fried oreos and a fried twinkee. I don't think they are worth the hype or the cost but we could at least say we tried them. I was told there was lots of food at the rodeo but so far all I saw was corn dogs and turkey legs, real carnival foods.
Then our homeschool group met up at the rodeo for a school event and tour of the livestock show. It was here that I feel like I finally came to appreciate all things related to this rodeo. Inside the same convention halls that we saw 600 RV's we were now looking at pigs, cows, chicken, sheep, rabbits, bees and so on. We climbed on tractors, watched an egg hatch, and learned a little about a world that this city girls knows little about.
Our friends the Snow family joined in our adventure making the day so much more fun!
It was during the tour that one of the kids heard Pickle asking our guide if she really knew what she was talking about. We all believed everything she had said. This is when she confessed to Pickle that she had only given one other tour. Pour lady, she was very nice. We did learn a lot from her but she just wasn't the same after a young one from the group walked off to explore on his own.
After all that fun we headed outside to get a bite to eat. This is when we found all the food that the rodeo is known for. Yummy. Some of the local restaurants offer their dishes at the rodeo and we loved trying some new dishes. It was expensive so we shared everything except the seafood dishes that dad and I got.
We stayed outside for some more fun. We tried to make it across to the horses but never got there. Instead we were outside in the little kids area. We let the big kiddos venture off for a little while by themselves and we hung out and learned about the economics of farm life.
The lessons were really cool. The kiddos got "feed" and then "took care" of the chickens, they then "gathered an egg" and took it to "sell". Here they were given "money" that also worked as "seeds". The kiddos then went to various stations where they learned about different Texas fruits, vegetables and even cotton from the sheep. As they "spent" their money and "grew" their crops they then collected the goods and even some cotton, we also got to touch a sheep skin. The next visit on the path was the market where they "sold" their products and were given a "dollar" from this market they went into the grocery where they got to "buy" a real snack and box of Texas orange juice. It was a very cool and well thought out path. I learned a lot. After this awesome little snack we ventured out again still trying to get to the horses. This is when we got side tracked by some of our friends who's children were riding the mechanical bull. Believe it or not Moogie and Pickle tried it and did pretty well at it. The older kiddos rejoined us to watch.
They did pretty well considering. I am beginning to understand why this really is a big deal for the people of Houston. All kinds of things to do, lots of fun to be had, lots of learning, celebration of our heritage and the local economy, all centered around the children and the family.
After these adventures our friends left one family at a time. We stayed behind to see what the carnival was all about. It had been such a fun morning but by now I was getting tired. So was Jumba. He feel asleep in his stroller and I grew more and more jealous that he was able to catch some zzz's. The big kids went off again with a few friends that joined us for the ride home.
We left after we all gathered back up together. We talked about our favorite things on the way home. Everyone really did enjoy themselves. We talked about how fun it is to dress Texan. We all want boots. We all want hats. We never understood that before and now we want to be a part of it. Then came Sunday the last day of the Rodeo. Sugar was invited to go back, to play at the carnival, to watch the last bull riding and to see the ending concerts. The only issue is that the group of young teens needed a chaperon. I was elected to join them. We had a blast and now I really felt more a part of this adventure in Houston than ever before.
I loved the time with the girls but hated teh ski lift. Not pretty! AFter it was over everyone laughed at how silly I was and then we headed into the rodeo and concerts.
We left the concerts, used our last ride tickets, and then headed out. The girls had school the next morning and we left the rodeo grounds at 9:00PM I was shocked at how many people were still there as we prepared to leave. I was even more shocked at those coming is as we were leaving to get an hour or two more out of the carnival.
The Texas T family became a little more Texan this past rodeo season. We all took a little more pride in watching, learning and celebrating all things Texan. We are so thankful to all of our friends that took us with them or came with us to enjoy this event.
God Bless Texas!