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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo: What a Ride!

The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is a two-week event that every year draws prime entertainers from across the States. The rodeo performers may not be the best, but every night afterwards is a free concert by the likes of Alan Jackson, Taylor Swift, or Montgomery Gentry. Mark and I schedule our flight and make reservations to see the Goo Goo Dolls. However, we realize a week before we are to leave that I have scheduled the remainder of our trip based on the belief that the Goo Goo Dolls are performing a day earlier than they actually are. Mark calls and has our tickets changed with no penalty. But, instead of the Goo Goo Dolls, we see Stars of Texas, the most no-name performers of the two weeks. Mark has heard of one of the four.

Mark is confused over whether the venue is the Alamodome or at the AT&T Center—or even if there’s a difference between the two (there is). Also, because of my earlier confusion with the dates, we have to collect tickets at will-call, and there is a mix-up, which delays us further. But we do get to the show in time to see the last five riders in Mutton Bustin’, where youngsters ride sheep.

The sheep are sheared so as to leave a ring of wool across their shoulders for riders, ages 5–9, to cling to. Some kids fall off right away, some bawl, some simply get up and walk away and some ride from one end of the ring to the other, beginning atop but ending aside the sheep. Really fun to watch.

After that, fellas with names like Waylon, Heith and Tuf buck around on broncos and bulls and rope and wrestle calves. The ladies race their steeds around barrels. There is even an intermission during which about 10 teenagers chase as many calves around the ring. The object is to get a rope around the calf’s neck by any means possible and pull or coax it across a line. Calves are surprisingly stubborn, and most can’t be reasoned with, we can see.

Each event is as fun to watch as the next, and the announcers for the entire show add their own humor. There isn’t a bad seat in the house. Plus, the evening ends with a concert. Totally worth $25 a seat.

We have so much fun that, once back at our hotel, we jump online at the complimentary computer center and make reservations to go to the rodeo the night before our flight home.

Our last night, after a couple days exploring Big Bend National Park and the afternoon driving across LBJ’s ranch, we drive into town and to the AT&T Center in time to pick up our tickets and see the entire rodeo.
The evening ends in a concert by Brooks and Dunn. I’m not that familiar with their music, but I do recognize several songs. True entertainers, they sure put on a show worth watching. We feel lucky that they’re playing on this, our final night in Texas.