Monday, March 14, 2011

A Rodeo...Texas Style.

I'm sure you've heard the saying that "everything in Texas is bigger". That statement definitely rings true when you experience the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. This weekend, the Hubby and I attended the Rodeo with some friends. The Hubby has been several times--he went to law school in Houston and enjoyed attending over the years while living there. I had only been one other time and had forgotten how vast it is. The Hubby, while in his undergraduate years at Texas A&M University-- he was a poor college student (weren't we all) and to earn extra money to help pay for his schooling, he would skip school for a week in the spring semester and work at the Houston Rodeo.

While there, we attended the School Art Auction with some dear friends of ours, Robin and Joe. Robin and Joe live and work in Houston and both are active volunteers for the Houston Livestock and Rodeo each year. Robin is one of the Directors for the Rodeo and invited us to attend the Art Auction with her and Joe. This particular auction is an annual event at the Rodeo each year and the art work is submitted by Texas high school students. This year they were all either oil or watercolor paintings and sculptures and let me tell you, I was blown away with the talent. I mean seriously...blown away. The paintings were so fantastic, many of them it was difficult to decipher whether they were an actual painting or a photograph. They only way you could really tell is if you got really close to the piece of art.

The School Art auction monies are used purely for scholarship monies for students across the state of Texas. Each year they raise an impressive amount of money for students; however, this year, they raised more than ever. The total was a little over $1.3 million!!! Pretty amazing!!

The young lady pictured above, Kimberly Argawal, a 17 year old from Katy, Texas--she was this year's School Art auction grand champion winner. The subject of her painting was the cowboy standing next to her on stage. Her painting sold for over $200,000!! A portion of this money will go directly to her as a cash prize and then a full-college scholarship and the remaining monies will go to other scholarship recipients. You can see a better view of her painting by clicking here.

Robin, our friend, is pictured above with one of the high school students and the young lady's mother. She created a beautiful sculpture that Robin and her husband purchased at the auction for $35,000. Robin and Joe feel strongly about making these generous auction donations each year at the Rodeo for they know they benefit so many young, talented kids' lives. The young lady was so touched that Robin and Joe purchased her sculpture--so much, she just kept hugging Robin and thanking her. The kids stay in touch with the people who purchase their art work by sending cards over the years while they are in college and some even mail copies of their report cards to the people who buy their art just to show how hard they are working in school and that their investment in their education was well worth it.

At the Houston Rodeo, in addition to all the livestock, auctions, concert and rodeo events--there are a plethora of shopping options for everyone to enjoy. Here are just a few we stopped in to look at while there.

Having fun at the School Art auction together. We were cracking up because the Auction was live on the Houston t.v. and the camera man kept panning over to us. Each time he did, we would be on the large screens in the stadium. I would turn beat red like I was having a major hot flesh from my neck to the top of my head. The Hubby was cracking up at me because I had this panicked look on my face.

I've had my cowboy/girl boots for a couple years now and they are pretty worn out. The Hubby insisted that it was time to get them shined. Man, I have never had a shoe (boot) shine before...I have to admit, it was really relaxing. Almost as good as a pedicure!! And, wow--my boots looked rock star afterwards. I'll be doing that more often I think. :-)

In the evening, we headed to the Rodeo to watch some of the night time events that were scheduled AND to see Lady Antebellum in concert.

We learned the hard way that the Houston Rodeo is a highly attended event. We sat in traffic for over an hour...and we were just a mile from the Reliant Stadium where it is held. It is that crazy busy and finding parking can be a nightmare if you're unprepared....we were unprepared...unfortunately. Definitely come with lots of cash in hand to pay for the parking and the entry fees.

The Hubby jumped on the first ATM we found to grab some extra cash for the night.

The Houston Rodeo typically is 3 weeks long and there are events and concerts every. single day and night to attend. Last year, there were over 2 million in attendance. An average attendance rate for one of the evening concerts like we attended is somewhere around 75,000...pretty impressive!

Before the concert begins, you have some fun rodeo events to watch. Our favorite is the calf chasing contest and the mutton bustin event. It is one of the most popular events of the rodeo. Mutton Busters — typically 5- and 6-year-old participants, under 60 pounds — hold on to a sheep as they dash out of the chute. Whoever stays on the sheep longest is the winner. The crowd just goes crazy when the kids come out of the chute riding the sheep.

Our Little Man is going to participate next year...he will have a blast and of course, the Hubby is already talking about how is going to get him practicing. My first question was...Where do we find a sheep to let him practice riding? We live in the city... hum...humm?

Enjoying the wonderfully talented Lady Antebellum...they are great in concert.

Good times were had this year at the Houston Rodeo. Go here to learn more about the history of this world famous rodeo. I was amazed at all the man (and woman) power....they typically have over 24,000 volunteers annually. It is most definitely a well planned and managed event. I asked our friend Robin how soon she and the other Directors and their committees begin planning the Rodeo and she responded with, "The very next day after the rodeo ends." Wow! What a huge feat to make such a grand event like this come together.

Houston, Texas--you definitely know how to put on an unbelievable rodeo...way to go!! We look forward to next year's rodeo fun.

Now the Hubby and I are off to stay a few days at one of our favorite sleepy towns in the Texas Hill Country--it's just 40 minutes south of Austin. You can learn more about this beautiful, quaint town here.


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