One of the biggest annual events for our city is the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and for the past 3 years I have called Houston home, I have been lucky enough to go at least one night. It’s nearly a month of carnival rides, delicious fair food, animals, concerts, mutton busting, bull riding and the only time you will see cowboy hats and boots daily and in abundance around the city. It kicks off every year with the World Championship Bar-b-que cookoff. Now, I’m not talking about your typical neighborhood cook off with a few regular joes dusting off their single smokers or grills and giving the competition a shot. This is 3 days of straight bbq with over 250 teams competing to win it all. Last year was my first time attending the cookoff and it was not at all what I was expecting. These tents were giant event tents some that could hold hundreds of people, each had live music or djs and I don’t even want to know what their alcohol bill was to support 3 days of partying. Did I mention that to you must be invited to get into these tents where everything is paid for? That means they aren’t getting any money from you to help foot the bill. It was just amazing. You do have to pay to get in the grounds but what’s $15 when it comes down to it. If you get a chance to get on someone’s list for the cookoff, go. You won’t be disappointed. I only wish we could taste all the tents bbq but then again I’m sure I’d be stuffed after the first one.
There have been so many great artists who have come to play the rodeo over the years and I have been very fortunate to see a few of these great talents over the past 3 years living in Houston. The energy is a little different from most concerts I’ve ever been to and is somewhat of a shock when you first attend. I’m so use to fighting my way to the front of the crowds to get the closest spot possible. There is something about being in the crowd and feeding off each other’s energy that really brings something extra special about seeing a performance live. At the rodeo that’s not what you get. The rotating stage is placed right in the middle of the arena and everyone is sitting in the stands. You are so far away from the performer they look like tiny ants even on the lower levels! You will get a few people who are singing along but hardly anyone is up out of their chairs and sometimes I wonder what brings these multimillion dollar artists back year after year. Must be a good paycheck. Anyways…this year’s lineup was pretty good but there were only a few that I really wanted to see. So when Adam said he got tickets from work to Chris Stapleton, I was excited! All he needed was to find another couple that could come with us. As the day drew nearer, he was having difficulty finding another couple that wa available which meant that if he couldn’t find anyone, I was out of luck and he would just take some clients instead. Luckily, our good friend Lauren texted me a week before and asked if I wanted to go with her since her husband had to go out of town and would no longer be able to go. It worked out perfect, I still got to see Chris Stapleton and Adam got to schmooze up some more clients. 🙂
If any of you have ever heard Chris Stapleton or seen him live, I’m sure you know he’s not the type of guy you would think of putting on a show. So going into the night I wasn’t expecting anything other than some good, live music. He definitely delivered on that! That guy sure is talented, his wife is pretty talented too. He spent the whole time in the same spot on that rotating stage and sang directly to his wife but he still put on a nice show for the crowd. Our group especially enjoyed the finale of “Tennessee Whiskey” and you could hear the whole stadium go nuts when the background which had stayed the American Flag throughout his whole performance, suddenly changed to the Texas flag! If there’s one thing I’ve learned since moving here, it’s you don’t have to be from Texas to be Texas proud.
A couple weeks later, Adam came upstairs on a Saturday around noon and said “Do you want to go to the Rodeo and see Willie Nelson in a suite?” My mouth probably fell wide open and I said “Well, I guess so”. One of Adam’s coworkers fiance fell ill that day and was no longer up for attending and had offered the tickets to Adam instead. Seriously, Adam is the luckiest guy I know and being his wife now I sure get some pretty good perks sometimes too! So we rushed to get ready and headed down to NRG for some Willie Nelson! We had a blast and decided to stick around the carnival for some games and food and to see if Adam could win me a stuffed animal (he didn’t). I don’t do rides and sometimes that makes me really sad for Adam because no one wants to ride on those alone but I can only do baby rides like the slides (it’s still my favorite) and anything that doesn’t spin, which at a fair eliminates pretty much everything. They had a ride that was similar to the Detonator at Worlds of Fun, that’s one of the only rides I would do. It was really fun, but WAY too short…seriously for the amount of money it costs for a ticket, they really should give you more than one drop. Oh well, after all that fun was had we filled up on lots of fried goodness and then headed back home.
I’m always sad to see the Rodeo leave but it’s nice to get back to life as usual around town. If you ever decide to plan a trip to Houston try for around March, not only is the weather mostly beautiful you can hit up the Houston Rodeo! Because after all it’s the ropes and the reins and the joy and the pain….
Here are some quick videos I shot! Forgive my terrible quality. iPhones… ya know.