Rodeos & County Fairs

When you say “rodeo” in Houston most people envision the Houston Rodeo. But the Houston Rodeo is not my kind of rodeo. I don’t want to buy tickets to an event where I’m seated so far away that I have to watch the action on a big screen . . . and the rodeo MCs are continuously yammering about Ford trucks even after the chute opens and there is action on the floor! I don’t want the band to be the big attraction. Oh no! I care about the rodeo! If the Houston Rodeo is the only rodeo you’ve ever seen, you haven’t experienced a real rodeo. Because to appreciate the action, you’ve got to be up close, right on the fence. You have to smell the flying dirt. It helps if the MC is also a preacher, and the music complements the action. And the bulls shouldn’t appear trained, exiting the arena without putting up a fight, like this guy, who had minutes before charged at us.


We’ve been to many fantastic “up-close” rodeos, some attached to county fairs and others just in an arena with bleachers. Doesn’t matter to me, I want to be right up on the fence. . . I don’t want people slowly shuffling in front of me with their beers and nachos and frozen margaritas blocking my view. I’m a serious rodeo fan.

Due to the acoustics, it is generally too loud at rodeos for my au child without sound-blocking headphones. My au child likes bronc busting and bull riding, and will sometimes yell out “Oh, no, he fell off!!” and laugh. He likes taking photos at the rodeo too. He took these photos:



How does one find out about rodeos? It’s hard because they are often not well publicized. One way is to check the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association or PRCA: Rodeos USA is also good:, and the numerous Hill Country calenders online.

Many rodeos are free or of little cost to the public. We thoroughly really enjoyed one such rodeo last year at Lonestar Cowboy Church (Montgomery County), below. It was a great rodeo, a PRCA qualifying event, but the participants outnumbered the spectators because no one knew about it. The Galveston County Fair Rodeo, which occurs every year in April, is also very entertaining, along with the one held every Labor Day in Boerne at the Kendall County Fair & Rodeo. Oh yes, the one in Bandera (“Cowboy Capital of the World”) has a great one too over Memorial Day Weekend. All the hotels in the area book up fast for that one.

Of course, the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show, which occurs every February-March, has its charms–we like the trail ride, the Livestock Show and carnival rides.

Here’s some pictures from a few years ago:

But the very best experience I ever had at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was a he carnival midway,  the day this very kind and sunburned cowboy personally assisted my au son climb the rock wall. That’s a real cowboy!

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