Let's Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo 2013 began Feb. 23 and runs through March 9.

Every year, groups of trail riders on horseback and in wagon make their way to Houston, riding through the streets of this large metropolis on their way to Memorial Park where they make camp.

The trail ride tradition is more than 60 years old. Their arrival heralds the beginning of the world's largest livestock show and rodeo.The 13 trail ride groups travel a combined total of nearly 1,800 miles. They arrive the night before the Houston Rodeo Parade. Some of these groups began on February 16, with the trail riders from Reynosa, Mexico, traveling the farthest to get here.

Who Are The Trail Riders

Who are these trail riders? They are men, women, and children who spend days on horseback, through all kinds of weather. Some really are cowboys. Many live on farms and ranches or small towns, but many are ordinary people from the cities who love the western traditions. All of them participate in the trail ride as a way to keep western heritage alive.

Bad Weather Is A Given

The one constant for every trail ride I've witnessed in the past 30 years is that the weather is usually horrible the week that the trail rides converge on Houston. That's the way it was this week -- cold, windy, and wet. The kind of weather that makes you want to stay inside wrapped in a blanket.

You see a lot of television and movie cowboys, but not many stack up to the real deal. Luke Perry who played a rodeo cowboy said: "There's a big difference between me and a real, legitimate working hand, or a world-champion rodeo cowboy. I play 'em, and I aspire to be like that, but those guys are tough."

Indeed they are.

I have a tough time watching rodeos. The bronc busting and bull riding scare me to death. I had a couple of cousins who worked the rodeo circuit when they were younger. One was stomped by a bull. Luckily, he can still walk. So I always find myself thinking about him during rodeo time.

Takeaway Truth

God bless and protect you rodeo cowboys. Yee haw!

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