Cultural ExplorationTexasUnited States

Dad Diaries: A Rodeo in Los Fresnos, Texas

By May 18, 2018 No Comments

When one spends some time out of the cities in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, you quickly experience the huge cultural changes.  Cowboy culture is alive and well, even near the Gulf of Mexico.  It is not unusual to see someone in a Walmart with spurs and a knife in their belt in back.  It is just the southwest.  Even the kids are dressed up.  In the Northeast, it would be a Halloween costume, down here, its Sunday’s best dress.

bucking bronco texas

Texas Rodeos are Alive and Well

We have been waiting for a while to have the opportunity to go to one of the iconic Texas rodeos.  We missed it in Arizona and New Mexico, but we final were in the right place at the right time.  Los Fresnos, Texas.  The rodeo was just 15 miles from the RV Park.

We had absolutely no expectations, because we have never been.  It’s like going to a circus for the first time.  You don’t know if you would like it, whether it would drag on and have large times between the events or even what events we were going to see.  We have seen rodeos on TV, but usually turn them off after a short while.  I guess the only expectation, it would probably be better in person…

As far south and in the middle of the desert, we really thought it would be a “C” grade Rodeo.  It was the real deal.  This Rodeo was one where the riders come in from everywhere.  It was obvious looking at the license plates on the large horse trailers as we walked in.  A nice guy next to me said the only rodeo larger is the Las Vegas Rodeo.  It was great and nothing what we expected.

riding a bull at texas rodeos in front of yellow fenceTalented Ropers and Riders

Two of the riders were introduced during the introductions as past national champions, both of which their rodeo earnings were over a million dollars.  There were several others.

I have never seen any event run so well in a rapid fire format so there simply were no gaps in the action.  They used both ends of the arena to shift types of events like once the last bull left the arena after he nearly killed his rider, the roping event started right up at the other end.  In the pictures, you will see there is not 1 bull chute, but six.  Once a bull leaves the chute, there are two more preparing for their ride.  Rapid fire events.  Even the half time was brief.  There was always something going on, all the time.

To give the riders a break, they had events with kids. Ride a sheep (called “Mutton Bustin’”) that didn’t want to be ridden and pull the ribbon off the tail of a calf that ran faster than any kid which certainly didn’t discourage them to get the ribbon first.

The announcers also made the Texas rodeos even better.  They obviously came in for the rodeo and do this as a profession.  I have never heard more constant one liners and jokes that had everyone laughing out loud throughout the rodeo.  It was like a standup comic show all through the rodeo.  Even the clown in the arena was miked yuccking it up with the announcer.

Kiddos Gone Wild at Texas Rodeos

Another memorable moment was during the “Pink Tag on the Calves Tail’ Race.  Sheer chaos.  Kids have to “obtain” a pick ribbon from the tail of a calf.  Kids running one way and calves running the other.  One observation was the calves have done this more than the kids.  Clowns are running the show to make it more crazy.   A great moment was one of the kids came up to the clown with a ribbon.  You could hear the clown say (he was “micked”) “You Won”.  The Clown announced that the boy insisted he did not win because he found the ribbon on the ground.  He praised the parent for doing such a great job and he for being honorable and gave him third place.  Very Cool.  There was also a fantastic “daredevil” type girls’ acrobatic team that did incredible tricks on horseback, hanging from them at every angle and standing on the saddles with one leg.

001 Full Gallop Rodeo Start

With all the constant action, one of the more memorable moment was the national anthem at the beginning.  These folks, I am sure of all political parties, love this country.  Everyone was singing out loud, the cowboys genuinely stopped what they were doing and focused, some even had their arms around each other, hats off and hands over their hearts, heads down.  It was obvious the national anthem was important to the cowboys and everyone in the stadium.  It was simply awesome to be part of it.  The acrobatic girls came out on horseback with huge American flags waving in the breeze.

RV life goes on, check another extraordinary experience off, but we will keep looking for more rodeos.

Have you been to Texas? Do anything there that’s quintessentially Texas? How about Texas rodeos? Do you know how to horseback ride?

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Rick Cotter

Author Rick Cotter

Rick Cotter is a Massachusetts native and new world traveler. After scuba diving throughout the Caribbean and road tripping across the USA, he's moved onto Europe as a new baby boomer playground. Follow Rick's adventures in his 'Dad Diaries' series on Pure Wander.

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