Cowboy Up

A couple months after we moved to Houston 20 years ago, people at the franchising company where I worked kept talking about ‘Go Texan Day’ and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Having attended a couple of those in Ft. Worth, I was like, ‘Meh.’

The next year, my boss gave us tickets and we experienced this extravaganza for the first time. Not only is there the expected calf roping, barrel racing and bronc riding, there is a large Midway with all kinds of ways to spend your money.

However, the biggest draw – we’re talking 70,000 people attending each performance for 21 days – is a post-Rodeo concert by a big-time entertainer. This year’s headliners include Brooks & Dunn, Luke Bryan, Tim McGraw, the Zac Brown Band and Brad Paisley. Country not for you? How about Cardi B, Panic! At the Disco, Kings of Leon, Camila Cabello, or Santana? We know people who go EVERY day.

The annual tradition starts tomorrow with ‘Swept the Grammys’ star Kacey Musgraves and concludes in three weeks with ‘Coming out of Retirement’ legend George Strait.

First up though was the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, which we, along with 100,000+ of our closest friends, attended two evenings ago. Hundreds of teams compete in categories from ‘Best Brisket’ to ‘Best Dutch-Oven Dessert’. In fact, last year a team from, wait for it, the Netherlands won that category.

Over the past two decades we’ve been a dozen or so times, seeing Reba, Miranda Lambert, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift… and, yes, Garth. However, my biggest regret was the second year we had tickets, when one of our kids got sick a few hours beforehand.

After a few calls we gave them to a friend… having first offered our next-door neighbors the chance to see a rising star. When I asked if they wanted the tickets, the wife said, “Yes,” paused and asked, “Who’s performing?” I told them. They replied, in unison, “Who’s Faith Hill?”


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