If you have not been to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, I dare say you have not been to a rodeo. Every spring, for over three weeks, the Rodeo takes up residence in NRG Center. It includes all the traditional rodeo events but also carnivals, shopping, tremendous food and lots of fun for all. And while our barn is now focused on the English disciplines of Dressage, Hunters and Jumpers, my roots are in ranching, barrel racing and Quarter horses.
I love rodeo time and enjoy that the schools and businesses in the Houston area get caught up in rodeo theme as well. Businesses declare it Rodeo Day and many come outfitted in wildly patterned cowboy boots that sit in the closet for the rest of the non-rodeo year. Schools have Rodeo Day as well and the kids force their parents to buy new boots (last year’s are outgrown) and western shirts. Fortunately for my granddaughter Kendyll, there is no lacking of horse/rodeo themed clothing available to her as handed down by sister Jordyn.
Kendyll is older than Jo was in the picture above, but they are both still getting indoctrinated in the “cowboy” life as I would put it. When I was a kid growing up outside Chicago, there were not many opportunities to don my cowgirl boots and head anywhere but the barn, certainly not to school. I loved Colorado and cherished my summer-time there where I got to dress like a cowgirl 24/7.
But I feel even in Colorado, where spotting someone in jeans and boots is pretty commonplace, official rodeo days don’t happen at the schools. I came to Texas by happenstance. Unless you don’t believe in happenstance and then that is a whole other discussion. The girls and I came from Florida as I was recruited for a job here. I never dreamed I would live in Texas but I have to say many things about it have brought me back to my Cowboy and my momma’s Oklahoma roots.
I have looked all over (although not out in the cold garage) where I would probably find a picture of my sister, my mom and I. My sister and I were little, like three and five maybe. We were at Elk Falls Ranch. My sister and I had on nifty aqua blue skirts and vests with fringe. We had on cute white cowgirl boots. I know you will miss seeing that.
My family has been dressing like cowboys (girls) for many generations now. As Jordyn and my other grandkids continue the tradition, I find it comforting and wonderful that these horse based traditions are being passed along. The grandkids represent the third generation to ride recreationally. Clearly, people have had horses as a necessity going back thousands of years. But this family has chosen to ride and live (in spite of the English direction we have taken in recent years) like the cowboys that came before us, still cherishing a well built horse and a comfortable saddle. Texas helps us remember our roots.
As Marcel Proust said, and I remember from my suffering days in European Literature, “the more things change, the more they remain the same”. It is so true. Ride on.