For more than 30 years, locals have taken part in rodeo barbecue contest
One day a year, several dozen doctors and residents from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston put aside their surgical uniforms, trading them in for cowboy hats, rugged boots and Western wear as they head north on the freeway to the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest.
The rodeo’s three-day cook-off, which raises funds for charities, draws more than 250 teams with more than 400 entries and about 250,000 hungry visitors. It’s described by some as a costume party, with everyone, including the doctors, dressed in serious Western garb.
Thirty-five years ago, Dr. Paul Brindley, a longtime ear, nose and throat physician at the medical branch, helped start the Cold River Cattle Company Barbeque Team from the back of his pickup. Today, the team’s tent draws several thousand guests from the Galveston and Houston areas.
“This is wonderful that we can do this,” said Tammy Brindley, a member of the team. “It has grown so much. We work on it all year. It almost has a life of its own. But we love seeing the Sunshine Kids here. They have such a great time.”
The Cold River Cattle Company hires a bus to transport the team and guests from Galveston and Tiki Island to Houston for the kick-off events. Funds they raise go to Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, as well as Small Steps Nurturing Center and the Sunshine Kids.
At this year’s event, silent and live auctions raised thousands of dollars for the charities. Mike Janota, with Sea Star Base Galveston, helped to auction a four-hour sailing cruise for eight aboard a catamaran for $3,700 with all the proceeds going to the Sunshine Kids and Shriners Hospital for Children.