Yee-haw! It’s that time of year again!
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is back in town. I loves me some rodeo and this is one of the best in the world!
Last year I managed to get myself kicked out – I mean escorted from the premises – over a simple misunderstanding. I honestly thought I was doing my job, the same way I had for years. Apparently, I failed to follow the rodeo’s rules regarding photography (which, in my defense, were not printed anywhere). This year the rules are made abundantly clear, so hopefully I can bring you some awesome rodeo action in the weeks to come.
There’s a lot to see and do at the HLSR and I encourage you to make a trek there this season, which runs through March 17. I know for many people the nightly concerts are the big attraction. For them, the rodeo is usually a warm-up act. It’s the opposite for me. I get caught up in the rodeo action and the concerts are usually a cool-down period.
When it comes to the concerts, I really don’t care much about the modern acts that most people get excited about. I like the classic acts that I grew up with. I’m thrilled to see that two retired performers are appearing this year – George Strait and Brooks and Dunn. I’m also excited for Tim McGraw and Brad Paisley. I didn’t grow up listening to any of them other than King George, but the rest made a mark on my early adult years.
I also enjoy the vendors and the foods. Once again I’ve been invited to be a Gold Buckle Foodie Award judge. I really enjoy doing that. You never know what you’re going to be served or how your fellow judges will respond. In past events I’ve shared a table with KSBJ’s morning crew, among other local media personalities. I will never forget a couple years ago when Maggie Flecknoe of KIAH-TV (CW39) shrieked when presented with a slice of pizza topped with scorpions, mealworms, and crickets. To her credit, she did try it.
Another big attraction is the carnival. Hundreds of thousands of people will enjoy the rides this year. I’ll probably not be one of them. It generally doesn’t fit my budget. That, and it’s hard for me to get much of a thrill out of carnival rides when I’ve done things like tandem skydiving and taken numerous media flights in aircraft ranging from hot air balloons and ultralights to micro-jets, bi-planes, aerobatic stunt planes, and vintage fighters. But that’s just me. If carnival rides are your thing, go for it!
I know a lot of locals show livestock at RodeoHouston, and for them it’s a big deal. These kids put a lot of time and effort into their animals and this is where all that hard work pays off. Good luck to all those who are showing this year!
I also wish luck to all of the student artists who have their works displayed and up for judging at the show. That competition can sometimes be a life changer for a budding artist. I also enjoy seeing artwork of my friends on display. A lot of students will draw and paint pictures of J.R. Thomas and others from George Ranch Historical Park and also re-enactors from the Texas Army. A lot of the student artwork is mind-blowing good.
I have numerous friends who are involved in the annual barbecue cookoff. That’s got to be one of the toughest barbecue competitions in the world. I know the participants have a great time. I wish my friends the best of luck this year, even though the contest will be over by the time this goes to print.
For me personally, the Houston rodeo marks the beginning of a very busy season which generally lasts the rest of the calendar year. March and April mark the heart of the re-enactment season for the Texas Army as we do the battle demonstrations and re-enactments from the Alamo and Washington-on-the-Brazos to San Jacinto. That takes up a lot of weekends.
This year we also have the Houston SaberCats rugby team back in town at Constellation Field. That also fills the calendar on the weekends and it is a lot of fun to watch.
All of that leads right into one of my favorite times of year – baseball season. I cannot wait for the Sugar Land Skeeters to start up again in April. From there it’s a marathon right into football season. That usually runs straight into Christmas and beyond. After that we get about a month of downtime before the rodeo returns and the whole thing starts over again.
I’m certainly not complaining. I love what I do and this is a great place to do it. Life is what you make of it and this little part of Texas is full of a lot of life and opportunity. So, let’s get out there and make the most of it. Cowboy up, my friends! This is gonna be a wild ride.