Bandera, Cowboy Capital of the World

The town of Bandera is small, but it lives up to its name as Cowboy Capital. It is full of shops selling bling, cowboy boots and hats, antique tools and country stuff, and bumper stickers saying “God Bless Johnny Cash.” There are cowboy bars with live bands at night, and rodeos there and all around Uvalde county on weekend nights. The heart of the town is the OST (Old Spanish Trail) Diner, a landmark comfort food restaurant with bar stool saddles and pictures of John Wayne on the walls. That’s where my husband was finishing his breakfast when these pictures where taken. Daddy, you missed it!

All around Bandera you will find small rodeos and dude (“guest”) ranches, plus the Medina River, which provides some nice swimming holes.

We stayed at the rustic Twin Elm Guest Ranch, which is near the river. The ranch hands were great. The water level was too low for tubing when we went, but we enjoyed seeing it.

The river at Twin Elm Guest Ranch.

My husband and nt son went horseback-riding, and later my au son got to get up an a horse with the help of the ranch hand, who had a gentle and well trained horse.

At night, the cowhands made a bonfire (we made s’mores), played guitar for us, demonstrated roping techniques and took us on a hayride with a powerful flashlight to see deer eyes staring back at us.

Aside from the smaller rodeos that can be found in the area, there is a big Cowboy Capital Rodeo Association Pro Rodeo (voted the nation’s best small town rodeo) and fair on or around Memorial day weekend. This is one outstanding rodeo and they have frozen margaritas!


A real good rodeo in Bandera which both children were able to enjoy thanks to sound-blocking headphones (loud PA system).


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