For my first night in Texas, I felt it essential to visit the rodeo. And what better place to see a rodeo than at the Cowtown Coliseum in Fort Worth, TX.
Walking through the stock yards, you see lots of cowboys in full regalia. The old neon buzzes away above the western wear stores and the honky-tonks.
Contrasting these stock yards with the Oklahoma City Stock Yards, it is apparent in Fort Worth they word hard by day but know how to party at night.
Through these gates millions of head of cattle have passed, but tonight it’s just us rodeo fans on our way to the Cowtown Coliseum.
The Coliseum has been hosting events in Fort Worth since it’s construction in 1908. Of course, rodeo and bull riding has been a staple all of it’s life, but the Coliseum has hosted a number of performances – even Elvis Presley in 1955 and again in 1956. A renovation in 1986 gave it more modern amenities like heating and air conditioning – but it was still hot as hell inside tonight.
Your evening begins with the National Anthem with horse and flag-bearer under a single spotlight at center arena. As lovely as that is, the patriotism doesn’t hit DEFCON 1 until Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA reaches it’s climatic final bars and the horse with flag circle the arena at full speed. It’s all people can do but to continue singing and yelping and woo-hooing all at the same time. It’s both incredibly stupid and incredibly endearing at the same time.
I really was prouder to be an American thanks to all that.
The events of the day are calf roping, bull riding and barrel racing. They’ve also got entertaining rodeo clowns and a trick roper.
In between the more serious action, they have calf and mutton scrambles for the kids. In these events, kids line up as they release a calf or a mutton into the arena. The kids chase it down and grab a tag off the back of the animal. Presumably the kid wins something other than the admiration of his peers, but I didn’t catch what that prize would be.
I was there to watch cowboys (and cowgirls) do what they do – and drink a local beer while doing it. And that’s just what I did. Yee haw!