It’s a Thing We Call Rodeo!

When we talk about fall in Texas, many of us probably think about football season, but one of the most exciting, action-packed sports taking place right in our backyard has more to do with cowboys and bucking bulls than helmets and end zones.

Rodeos have helped preserve the heritage and history of some of the early cowboys in the state for centuries. From country music and honky-tonks to museums, cattle drives and bull riding, North Texas has western-themed family events for people of all ages to attend and enjoy. Yee-haw!

If you have never had the chance to dress up in your Wranglers, show off your cowboy boots and strut your stuff in a real cowboy hat, you are truly missing out. This is Texas, after all! Turn up the George Strait tunes and introduce your family to another unique part of Texas culture. Just imagine yourself in the crowd, cheering on your favorite bull riders for an all-out rodeo showdown!

A longtime North Texas rodeo favorite takes place at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, celebrating its 59th season this year. When it comes to the preservation of our state’s southern heritage, 2013 Mesquite Championship Rodeo All-Around Champion Brady Wilson shares, “The Texas economy was built on the backs of ranchers. In the late 1800s, a steer worth $4 in Texas was worth $40 in the Northeast. Cowboys began driving cattle north to the railyards to be shipped out. It is the skills and bravery of these Texas cowboys that is celebrated with the events during a Mesquite Championship Rodeo.”

A night at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo starts with the Fan Zone, where families and kids can step out on the arena and try their hand at mock rodeo events. Families can take part in pony rides, roping dummies, stick-horse barrel racing and can even meet some of the stars of the show. “When the lights go out, we celebrate our American heritage with pageantry and an opening that will set the tone for the rollercoaster of emotions a spectator will experience throughout the night,” Mr. Wilson says. Bronc riding, roping, steer wrestling, mutton bustin’, barrel racing, bull riding and the fan favorite, junior bull riding, will fill the next two hours. After the show, fans can go down on the dirt for autographs or go to the 8-Second Club for live music and dancing. “The rodeo offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the nine to five grind, and allows the audience to enjoy rodeo action, while imagining themselves as cowboys or cowgirls,” Mr. Wilson says. “You can be from the country, or it can be your first time to see a horse, and we are sure to impress. It is professional rodeo, Texas heritage and affordable family entertainment all rolled into one.” To learn more about upcoming rodeo-themed events, to view a calendar or to purchase tickets to the Mesquite Championship Rodeo, consider visiting mesquiterodeo.com.

Due to its close proximity, there is no reason to miss out on the fun at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Texas’ heritage and tradition will thrive from January 13, 2017, through February 4, 2017, at the upcoming event. With more than 1.2 million visitors, the Stock Show is more popular than ever. This event connects visitors with Texas’ legacy of ranching and the cowboy way of life. Located in the heart of Fort Worth’s renowned cultural district, the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo features everything from livestock shows, petting zoos and rodeo action to shopping.

The upcoming celebration will be the 121st Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. It is the oldest event of its kind in the nation — it had the first indoor rodeo, it was the first to feature Brahman bull riding, and it is the first rodeo to be broadcast on radio and television. For 121 years, the nation’s best cattle, horses, rabbits, poultry, swine, sheep and other livestock have come to exhibit and compete for coveted Fort Worth Stock Show championships.

Special events include Mustang Magic, a show featuring wild mustangs that horse trainers have tamed and trained; Bulls Night Out, a heart-pounding, action-packed extreme bull riding show; and, the Coors Light Roadhouse, featuring some of the hottest regional music acts of the day. Ranching Heritage Weekend takes place on the Stock Show’s opening weekend with ranch rodeos and specialty ranch horse shows, and Kids Gone Wild is a place for children to experience and learn about wildlife and build a connection to livestock. The World’s Original Indoor Rodeo, featuring 29 performances of fun and entertaining professional rodeo action, also takes place during the annual event. If you are looking for western wear or some southern charm and décor, there is even a tradeshow that hosts more than 200 vendors! There really is something for everyone. A complete schedule of events can be found at fwssr.com.

Rodeo-going families willing to travel south cannot miss the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.Every year, tons of country music’s most popular artists pump up the volume on stage after a day of live rodeo action. From barbecue contests and livestock and horse shows to the calf scramble and famous carnival, your family is sure to have an action-packed adventure alongside some of Texas’ professional bull riders and cowboys. Make a fun weekend out of it! Plan your authentic rodeo experience at rodeohouston.com today.

Frisco even hosts its own day of cowboy fun! Shawnee Trail Cowboy Day, taking place October 22, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., is presented by the Heritage Association of Frisco, and its sponsors commemorate the very early days of Frisco’s heritage.  

For background knowledge, you must know that the Shawnee Trail was a cattle trail that started in south Texas. Great herds of cattle were rounded up and driven along this trail (now Preston Road), which came along the Preston Ridge through the town of Lebanon. The activities at Shawnee Trail Cowboy Day are based on these early day experiences!

The event chairs and the Heritage Association of Frisco president, Susanne Kerley, shared, “This event is popular because it gives families in the community a different type of activity for an inexpensive day of fun together. Where else in Frisco can you ride on a stagecoach, participate in an armadillo race, see cowboys act out a western shootout, hear live western music, have great food and ride a pony?” At the highly-anticipated, annual event there are bounce houses for kids and photo booths for a photo of your family decked out in western gear. Attendees can learn about early pioneer soap making, quilting, corn grinding and weaving. The Heritage Center’s log cabin, one-room school house, Lebanon church, Crozier-Sickles Victorian home, Smith Muse farm house, depot, blacksmith shop and the Frisco Heritage Museum all serve as the backdrop for activities that let each festival guest be part of the early cowboy days of Frisco. To plan your Shawnee Trail Cowboy day experience, go to friscoheritage.org.

I bet you are thinking about going to Cavender’s or Sheplers right now to try on a new pair of cowboy boots. With all of the upcoming western-themed fun here in North Texas, I do not blame you! Round up the family for a unique Texas-sized experience everyone is sure to love.