In Texas, you often hear people claim “it’s not my first rodeo” as a way of saying they are experienced at something. And while the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been a tradition for my family since we moved here in 2000, eight month old Kendyll was making her rodeo debut.
As a way to celebrate my birthday each year, we choose an entertainer (the rodeo includes a carnival, shopping, full rodeo action and entertainment). We have seen Kenny Chesney, Reba, George Strait, and scores of lesser acts. This year it was newcomer Brantley Gilbert who was set to take the stage. I had downloaded his CD on my Ipad. I think he is pretty good!
However, the day dawned cold and windy with wind chills in the 40’s. We bundled up and spent limited time outside. Kendyll, overall, was content to ride in stroller watching the people. Everyone had the same idea, to get inside and out of the wind. Lunch was terrific Texas barbeque from an award-winning restaurant. But there was nowhere to sit or for Ally to nurse the baby. We ended up in a corner on the floor with our backs to a barrel racing exhibit. We were lucky to sit at all.
Kendyll revived again after a crying spree once we got to our seats in Reliant Arena. While she probably became over-stimulated later, she was mesmerized by the millions of lights, horses, music and activity. I wish I would have caught her face during the Star Spangled Banner. I was holding her as she focused on the horse with a bareback rider racing through the arena as fireworks went off above. Each pop of the firework brought at first a scowl and then a smile.
It was her first rodeo and she had quite a ride!