Houston Rodeo

Trip Start Nov 22, 2007
Trip End Dec 01, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finally out of Florida: Houston Rodeo and Big & Rich

Finally a blog that doesnīt center on the "F word"! Yes, we finally got the RV back and have moved on from "F" lorida. We are in Galveston, TX right now. Bob has to fly back to NJ from Houston for some business, so we are here until he returns in early April. We happened to get to this area during the annual Houston Rodeo. This is a huge event in Houston that lasts a couple of weeks. So big is it that Reliant Park and Reliant Stadium were designed, in part, with the Houston Rodeo in mind.

It turns out that one night at the rodeo was Extreme bull riding and a Big & Rich concert at the stadium. We are fans of both, so we hunted down some tickets and got great seats in the 14th row, right by the chutes where the bulls are released. We got to see some of the worldīs best bull riders on some of the worldīs most difficult bulls. For those of you who donīt follow the sport, the rider and the bull each get a score for a qualified ride-the riders for their style and ability to stay with the bull, and the bull for the amount and type of action (jumping, twisting, variety of action, etc.). A ride qualifies if the rider stays on for 8 seconds. Some of the bulls we saw at this event had never been ridden for a qualified ride-and still havenīt. Once the rider is off the bull, the bull is herded back into the holding pen. Some go quickly, not wanting to stay in the arena any longer than necessary; but a couple of them had no desire to get out of the arena-excited to be free to run around and "play" with the rodeo clowns! These bulls had to be lassoed and wrestled to get them backstage. One even lay down and refused to get up. One of the clowns finally prodded him to his feet, and three riders on horseback lassoed him and pulled him, balking, to the pen. Of the more than 20 riders, only a handful qualified in the first round and only 1 rider qualified in both rounds. Itīs always more exciting when they qualify, but we enjoyed the show in any case.

In between the rounds they had chuck wagon races (for my Deloitte colleagues-notice that WaMu sponsored the chuck wagon that is in the lead in the picture!), and in between the bull riding and the concert, they had a calf scramble. Thatīs when they let loose a bunch of calves in the arena, and teenagers chase after them. If and when a calf is caught and wrestled to the ground, the teen must put a rope halter on the calf and walk (coax, cajole) the calf back to the center of the arena. Itīs really pretty comical to watch but very serious business for the teens who are trying to earn the prize money!

Big & Rich did not disappoint. They put on a great show, complete with flaming guitar bashing, Cowboy Troy, and Two-Foot Fred. If you are not familiar with the band, they are pretty unique. Like the Osmonds, they are a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll, but thatīs where the resemblance stops. Their music incorporates elements from many genres including some rap by Cowboy Troy. Kind of a progressive-urban-country if there is such a thing. One of their more popular songs is "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." They of course played that, along with "The Ballad of Big & Rich," and "Six-Foot Town," among others. We really enjoyed the show.
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