Sunday, March 7, 2010

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

I was supposed to have a video to go with this post but when we got home last night the DVD would not work. I'm a tad irritated. I paid $10 for a 55 second DVD and then the darn thing doesn't play! But I will always have the memory of the first time my daughter was thrown from a mechanical bull. That's right. Brenda rode the mechanical bull at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and ended up biting the dust. She actually held on for longer than I thought she would and I'm right proud of her.

Brenda, Ariana and I left home around 8:30 a.m. and, after a stop at Ryan's for their breakfast buffet, made our way downtown. We parked in the garage at work and took the train to the Reliant Park. Getting there was a breeze. We got through the gate and headed straight for Kids' Country where the girls started off the day with a few rides while it wasn't too hot and the lines were still short.

It didn't take long before we ended up at a booth and procured two cowgirl hats. I and others made the mistake of calling them cowboy hats but with these girls you only make that mistake once, let me tell you. They matched their hats to their shirts, Ariana got pink and Bre got black. Then we stopped off to watch the Radio Disney team perform on the kids' stage before checking out the exhibits. We saw rabbits, a big ole turkey, sheep and some huge bulls. The girls got a chance to climb up inside a John Deere tractor and we watched a heifer judging for a few minutes before heading off to find some lunch.

If you've never been to the rodeo, let me warn you that it is anything but cheap. Our lunch was a turkey leg, a hamburger, 3 chicken strips with fries and 3 sodas. The bill = $27.45. And the place was so crowded we ended up sitting on the ground to eat.

From there we headed off in search of horses. An extended tour of the carnival grounds later, we finally found the arena and some horses in need of petting. There was a beautiful black mare and a gorgeous palomino, among others. We stayed in the a/c for a while but had to head over to Reliant Stadium to get our seats for the start of the rodeo.

I have learned my lesson about cheap seats. Every time I buy seats I choose the economical option. Then, when I arrive at the stadium, I suddenly remember that I am terrified of heights. We take escalators up six stories just to get to the concourse. The whole time I am holding on with both hands and willing myself not to look down. Then, we find our section and enter only to face a nearly vertical incline. We were 11 rows up last night. The steps are not only steep but quite narrow. I am a large, clumsy woman who is afraid of heights. This is not a good combination.

Aided by my two lovely daughters and the $10.50 beer I bought, I managed to make it to my seat. I determined not to get up until the show was over. 2 hours in and with the concert still to go, the beer changed my mind. It wanted out. By this time, the stadium was filled to capacity and we had to climb over the four people between us and the stairs. I held on to the railing with a death grip and managed to make it without tumbling down to my certain death. The bathroom trip was uneventful except that I left Ariana's light saber and she cried for 10 minutes when she realized. But I was not going back.

Then came the music. We had seen bareback riding, steer wrestling, mutton bustin', barrel racing, team roping, saddle bronc riding and bull riding. It was time for Jason Aldean and he did not disappoint. He started off the show with one of our favorites, Crazy Town. We have to wait through about 8 songs before he got to the song that made us buy the tickets in the first place, Big Green Tractor. Clayton got Ariana hooked on it at Christmas and I bought her the cd. When we found out Jason would be at the rodeo, we had to go. My little pink cowgirl perked right up and sang along word for word. By then, we were all pretty tired, and it was some dogged determination that kept us there until we heard "She's Country." As soon as the last note was played we were up out of our seats and headed home.

The train back downtown seemed to take forever to arrive and it was absolutely packed to the gills. But we made it back to the car and hit I-10 West. I called and ordered pizza which we picked up on our way. All in all it was a great day.

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