Afreshly raked dirt arena. Bleacher seats. Floodlights. My first cowboy hat — red and made of straw. Horses everywhere. And Frito pie in a bag. I was 6, maybe 7, and in heaven.
It was my first rodeo.
Later, my family would make yearly treks to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which was a lot bigger and a lot flashier and gave me many fond memories. But I never forgot that first small-town Texas rodeo in Childress, where I could hear the horses thunder past and get a close-up view of skilled competitors.
Over the years, I’ve learned that rodeos are about much more than livestock and champion riders. They’re reminders, especially in Texas, of a way of life and our agricultural roots. But they also build camaraderie and teamwork and bring out the best in communities.
Each year, Coast Monthly celebrates the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo, this year set for April 13-21. And this year marks 80 years of the event.
As we’ve reported before, ranch land in Galveston County is dwindling to make way for development. Many area cowboys and cowgirls work other jobs to survive these days, while ranching part-time.
While the cook-offs and competitions are fun, the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo is meant to ensure the vitality of our region’s farming economy, event organizers have said.
A lot of people might think of the beaches when they think of this region, but the cowboy culture is alive and well here. We never tire of meeting all the people who help make our April issue. They still say “yes ma’am” and “thank you” and remind me why I love being Texan.
Happy Fair & Rodeo season.