Sunday marked the last night of the Houston Rodeo, and let me tell you, the demeanor around the grounds was one of mixed emotions. Some people were super sad that they can no longer ride a ferris wheel, drink adult beverages, eat fried things, watch cowboys, and listen to live music with their friends anymore. Others were ready for the rodeo shifts to end for the foreseeable future. Anyone who lives around NRG Stadium praised the Lord that traffic would not longer be an unmanageable issue — it’s back to being a normal issue.
I’m sure it will surprise most of you to learn that I am not one of those people who has chute seats right behind the bull riders so I can snag me a cowboy. You’d think that’s totally my wheelhouse, right?
Technically, the answer is yes, but I firmly believe bull riders are crazy.
I prefer steer wrestlers.
Show me where those guys hang out and I’ll show you someone (read: me) who won’t be able to form a sentence because I’m in complete awe that a man can ride a moving animal, can jump off that moving animal, in order to catch another moving animal, before man handling the steer to the ground in under six seconds. Sign me up.
Additionally, non-Houstonians don’t realize that there is an entire carnival portion of the rodeo. Once again, this should be something I embrace, thanks to my history of loving theme parks. Untrue. The thought of walking around in that section makes me break out into hives. Six months working at Disney World did not prepare me for the warm, sweaty bodies that inevitably rub up against me as I negotiate my way through booths that sport giant Despicable Me minions as fantastic, albeit highly unobtainable prizes. I was a pretty, young thing at 22-years-old when I commandeered a Jungle Cruise boat.
At 41, the magic has dulled. Would you mind perspiring in the other direction? Thank you.
All of that goes out the window when your good friend calls to say her cowboy-obsessed son has decided to give mutton bustin’ a try. Braving the rodeo grounds becomes a no brainer.
Sadly, neither Jill nor I anticipated the terrible, terrible, terrible timing of tackling the crowds (with a stroller) when we decided to go the Friday of Spring Break that just so happened to correspond with St. Patrick’s Day.
Come on, Lincee. Get your head in the game.
Even though I met ninety-five-percent of the people in Houston that day, I would do it all again to see this sweet face mount a sheep and ride it all the way to the end of the pavilion. EIGHTY-FIVE POINTS!!! GO GUS!
Crowds and traffic aside, there’s more to the rodeo than lightly stalking your favorite steer wrestler. And I’m not talking about the baby animals you can see in the “Agventure” building. I’m talking about the live music playing as you eat food that is both incredibly delicious and incredibly bad for your arteries.
Have you ever tasted a fried oatmeal cream pie? Well, I have and I suggest you do the same. It was glorious on several levels. I’d put it above the fried Oreos and fried Snickers. Skip the fried pecan pie and fried Nutter Butter.
Trust me. I tried hard to try several fried things in order to give you the most up-to-date information.
And then there’s the music. Chris Stapleton came this year. Unfortunately, this did NOT happen.
Even without a duet with JT, the performance was phenomenal. I have no first-hand experience with this assessment, since I had a stupid previous engagement that I couldn’t get out of, but I trust the reviews from all my friends who actually heard him live. Props to HIS WIFE who sings right along with him!
I heard Dierks Bentley was good too. Notice I said “heard.” Darn it if I didn’t have another previous engagement on the night his hotter than crap face performed! I promise I’m not that popular. Here’s what I was looking forward to hearing:
Fun fact: That’s his wife in the video. He wrote the song about her. Swoon.
I did see the Zac Brown Band. They sang a cover of “Bohemian Rhapsody” that had half of the audience singing along in loud, boisterous voices, while others were Googling the lyrics, wondering why all the “old people” were freaking out.
I saw Willie Nelson too. He is a legend. Was it the best concert? Heavens no. But it’s Willie. You have to go.
And finally, I saw Luke Bryan. He’s never been in my top favorite male country music artists (see: Garth, George, Merle, Johnny, Kenny, Billy Currington, Dierks, Waylon, Willie), but I get it now. He’s adorable, funny, entertaining, sweet, and has the forearms of a cowboy. (Thanks Stephanie for this shot!)
It’s boots and chaps
It’s cowboy hats
It’s spurs and latigo
It’s the ropes and the reins
And the joy and the pain
And they call the thing HOUSTON rodeo