After we realised we’d lost our passports and made our failed trip towards New Mexico (full story here), we decided to head back to Austin via San Antonio. We hadn’t stopped off here before and we had about a week to kill.
In the hunt for things to do I Google “San Antonio Rodeos” and was faced with thousands of results for rodoes gone and soon to come. The only one that seemed to be on the weekend we were about was Tejas Rodeo. It’s almost not right to come to Texas and not see a rodeo so we made plans to make the short 30-minute drive out of San Antonio on a Saturday night for the Tejas Rodeo.
The Tejas Rodeo is held every Saturday night from March until November and is pretty cheap to enter. It seems to be a pretty big deal as it was busy when we arrived and just got busier as the night went on.
Almost everyone seemed to be wearing the cowboy attire of jeans (mostly Wrangler jeans) and cowboy boots. I had some denim shorts on so I think I just about fit in…
The gates open at 6pm and the rodeo starts at 7.30 giving you plenty of time to drink a few beers (Bud Light or Coors, of course), ride the mechanical bull (the guy operating it laughed every single time someone fell off it), eat some BBQ (not the best but passable), and take up your seats ready for some rodeo action.
I’m getting used to the fact that all sporting events in the United States must be started by singing the national anthem. If it’s not started by this, then the national anthem must be sung at some point. Maybe I’ll even know the words by the time our road trip is up?
In addition to this Tejas Rodeo is started by a long spiel about the great cowboys and cowgirls that are soon to perform in front of you, tales of the farmers who care for the bulls you’re about to see, facts about the type of bull and a short prayer blessing the cowboys and livestock see the night through safely.
After this a parade of cowgirls gallop around the stadium and the rodeo begins!
We saw a few different events during the Tejas Rodeo. There was the traditional how-long-can-you-stay-on-a-bull event, the children-hanging-on-to-sheep-for-dear-life-event and the –are-we-fast-enough-to-lassoo-this-poor-calf-and-then-jump-off-our-horse-and-tie-him-down event.
I must admit I wasn’t a fan of the tying down the calf event. It just seemed a bit mean but all the calves did seem absolutely fine afterwards. My favourite event? It’s got to be the one where kids of under 6 hung on to sheep for dear life as the sheep catapulted around the arena. I’m not sure I’d ever let my kid do it and some kids weren’t too sure about it themselves. One boy in front of us was promised “the biggest LEGO toy ever” if he gave it a go with his brother, but even that couldn’t persuade him.
After the rodeo action is over it’s time for some country dancing. There’s a live band to see you through until about 2am when Tejas Rodeo shuts down for the night.
Even Thom and I gave some country dancing a go after having watched some of the pros. It seemed the rodeo was the place to go on a Saturday night if you were under 21 and thus can’t go out drinking. Plenty of teenagers were standing around the side of the dance floor waiting to be asked to dance while a youngish girl and boy showed everyone how it was done. It’s clear they’d been practising.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my first Texas rodeo. If you’re visiting Austin in Texas and want a taste of a true Texan rodeo then make sure you drive up to Tejas Rodeo for a fun filled evening.