This Isn’t My First Rodeo

Now I can say that truthfully.

Yee-haw! I happened to be in Houston during the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (RodeoHouston) last week, so I made it a priority to experience my first rodeo.


Cowboys and Fireworks at RodeoHouston

Whenever I’ve imagined a rodeo, I’ve thought of a dusty, small town arena surrounded by a weather-beaten wooden fence and parking lot full of pickups with local cowboys riding in the show. Held in the huge Reliant Stadium, with top competitors and ending the night with performances by famous country music stars, RodeoHouston is a totally different experience. (But it’s still very dusty.) So with eager anticipation and a couple of cold beers, Mr. TWS and I sat in the nosebleed seats and watched a fast-paced series of rodeo competitions.

First event: Tie-down roping

Tie-down Roping

I was silently rooting for the calves in the tie-down roping event, which used to known as calf roping. The calf gets a head start out of the gate, but most often these experienced cowboys were able to lasso the calf before time was up. The next events were bareback riding and team roping. Then …

Saddle Bronc Riding

The Bucking Bronco

Most people are familiar with the saddle bronc riding event where the object of the cowboy is to stay on a bucking horse that is trying to throw him off. I always thought it was called a bucking bronco event, but I’m not a cowgirl. Next up was Steer Wrestling and then …

Bull Riding

Thrown from the bull

It seems to me that all of these rodeo cowboys take some risks with their physical well-being, but riding a bull looks like a really dangerous occupation. The bull rider’s goal is to get an eight second ride before getting thrown. This cowboy had just had his short time on the bull. In this case, the bull was easily enticed back into the pen, but others wanted to chase the rider and rodeo clown around a bit.

Chuck Wagon Races

Chuck Wagon Races

I liked the fast and fun chuck wagon races where you hear the pounding of the horses’ hooves as they maneuver tight turns around the track.


Calf Scramble

Good question. It just looks like a lot of kids and calves running amok, doesn’t it? We had a few good laughs watching this event as Texas 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) members were trying to catch uncooperative calves in the Calf Scramble. It wasn’t clear what the rules or strategies were — or if there even are any. It ended when all the calves had been downed, roped and pulled back to the center.

There was another kids events called mutton bustin’ where 5 and 6 year olds see who can ride a lamb the longest.

My First Rodeo and My First Country Music Show

Blake Shelton

After the rodeo events, a performance by country star, Blake Shelton, followed. Country isn’t my favorite genre of music, but live concerts are always exciting and Blake puts on a good show. There was lots of energy on the rotating stage and in the audience.

Here’s the beef

Food vendors at RodeoHouston are well-known for serving up hefty portions of beef, ribs, and turkey legs.

Cooking up sirloin at the Texas Skillet

But if that’s not your thing

BBQ Shrimp

Word of warning — if you’ve got a hankering for BBQ ribs, don’t wait to get them at the end of the night. I got the last slab at a booth that was getting ready to close. The ribs were meaty, but lukewarm and rather disappointing.

Then for dessert

Fried Treats

I’d heard a lot about the fried dessert options I’d find at the rodeo. My choice was fried Oreos. It doesn’t sound good, does it? You get a bag of about 6 of them all covered in powdered sugar, much of which ended up on my black sweater. I thought that they would be made like a fried chicken crust around the cookie, but it’s fried in beignet batter, making it more like a small beignet with a melted Oreo inside. They are delicious!

Carnival Rides and Games

Carnival Rides and Booths

The grounds surrounding the building were filled with food vendors, game booths, and carnival rides. I’m not one for going on a lot of rides, especially those that spin in endless circles, I certainly wasn’t going to do it after indulging in fried Oreos and a couple of beers.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ends on March 18th.

Can you honestly say, “This isn’t my first rodeo”?

Or is a rodeo just not your kind of thing?

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46 thoughts on “This Isn’t My First Rodeo

  1. Leigh

    Going to my first rodeo in Calgary in July – when the Calgary Stampede celebrates it’s 100th birthday.
    This actually look like fun and the oreo’s sound high cal but why not!

  2. Alexa Meisler

    This makes me so happy it literally looks like this is the happiest place to be on earth. With all the cool pictures you posted I’m already convinced that I should go to Houston specifically for this event.

    1. Cathy Post author

      I think a lot of people do go there specifically for the rodeo. I don’t think I’d do that, but since I was already in Houston, it was a very fun thing to do.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Don’t like to go along with the crowd, eh? Go ahead and give a rodeo a chance sometime – we won’t tell anyone. 🙂

    1. Cathy Post author

      It was actually even more fun that I thought it would be. It was just luck that I was there while the rodeo was in town.

  3. Renee King

    Well, you know the old saying, everything is bigger in Texas…..I guess they meant it! It looks like you had a wonderful time….Yeah the deep fried oreos….digusting. lol I’ve heard that there is something called deep fried butter too….what it would be used for is beyond me. ugh!

    1. Cathy Post author

      Oh, deep fried butter doesn’t sound good at all, Renee. I was a skeptic about the fried Oreos until I tried it. Surprisingly delicious.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Yep, you need to fill the rodeo gap in your life sometime since you missed it in Wyoming. I guess Shelton likes to do the rodeo circuit.

  4. Fida

    I haven’t seen anything like this – not even Calgary can compete. The rest of the rodeos I saw were more of the “weather-beaten wooden fence'” variety 😉

    1. Cathy Post author

      I’ll bet the Calgary Stampede will be pretty awesome this year since it’s the 100th birthday. Hopefully, Leigh McAdam will be sharing her experience with us!

  5. Annie - FootTracker

    That actually looks fun. I know some might not like it, but it looks like there is something to do for all family members there. (Just like some would say auto racing is not their thing, till they attend their first MotoGP, F1, or NASCAR event)

    The fireworks photos looks really cool with all the colors and lights.

    1. Cathy Post author

      Exactly. I was always thinking about the animals in the rodeo. But I understand that they are not being treated cruelly and that there are rules about equipment used, etc. But still … that’s why I was rooting for the calves. 🙂

  6. Christy

    This looks like serious business. I really don’t like the calf roping, but I did go to a rodeo in Mexico. Let me just say it was not what I expected. Probably not what most Americans would expect either. We left at intermission because we were so bored and actually a little appalled. It was a string of performances that seemed to promote hitting women. At least that’s what we took from it.

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  9. Rachel

    I’ve been to a few rodeos in my time in Salisbury, MD. They were not so big as this. I’ve also been to a Professional Bull Riding match. And my local carnival did deep fried oreos – SO good! What can I say, I’m a country girl at heart.

  10. Becca@R We There Yet Mom?

    Aww- thanks for re-submitting this post – I LOVED IT! Course I love anything Texas!!! Gotta love the show we can put on for you at the Rodeo huh? They do have the small town ones like you were picturing still too!

    Thanks for linking up this week! Have a super weekend!

  11. Lisa

    I’ve never been to a rodeo although being Canadian I think that I should make an effort to go to the Calgary Stampede sometime. I’m not sure I could sit through a rodeo though as I’d be worried the entire time that someone was going to get hurt – Mutton bustin’ might be more my speed.

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