Today is Go Texan Day. For the uninitiated, this is the day all the trail rides end and come into town for the start of the rodeo. They all end up at Memorial Park and party hearty all night. For those of you who don’t know what a trail ride is, it is a week or two of following one of the old trails for getting your cattle to market. Participants truck their horses and wagons to whichever starting point and then spend the next however many weeks riding those same horses and wagons back to town. I had a friend in high school who would get a leave of absence from school every year so she could participate. I think the one she went on was only a week long. Back then, schools would let you do that.
The rodeo and livestock show start tomorrow. There’s also a carnival that sets up and a huge vendor show as well. Houston has one of the largest rodeos with associated events in the country. Maybe the largest. The livestock show (we called it the fat stock show back when) is the competition, exhibition and auction of the animals that kids from elementary school through high school raise and groom through the Future Farmers of America programs at the schools. Mostly the rural and suburban schools now. I don’t know if the schools in the city still sponsor these programs.
I haven’t been to the rodeo in many years. I guess the last time was when the kids were small. Marc and I tried to go a couple of years ago. A friend gave us a pair of tickets. We got there in the afternoon, took our time looking at all the animals, browsed through the vendor show and then headed over to the stadium since the rodeo was getting ready to start. Well, it wasn’t getting ready to start, it was ending. We had never looked at the tickets and turned out they were for the afternoon show. So we went over to the carnival and Marc tried one of those fried twinkies. Gross.
Go Texan Day is also the day when everyone is supposed to dress up in their cowboy duds...hats, boots, belts, fancy shirts, and lets not forget the turquiose jewelry. The thing I remember most about Go Texan Day is that it was, when I was growing up, the only day of the year that girls could wear pants to school.