Let’s rodeo! That is the expression heard round the city as the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo began this past week. Frankly, I never knew the word “rodeo” could be utilized as a verb but I’m going with it – today we were all set to “rodeo!” The city is bustling; the campground is full; and we attended Cowboy Church this morning in extraordinarily cold and windy weather for Texas! I must say up front, however, that it was well worth it!
Cowboy Church is held for three Sundays during the Rodeo at 9 a.m. in the Auction Barn. When you attend the service, you gain free entrance to the grounds, carnival, livestock shows and various rodeo events. We arrived at Cowboy Church to the sound of music as Allora Leonard played the guitar and sang for the gathering crowd, accompanied by another guitarist. If you closed your eyes, you could swear you were listening to Patsy Cline, and imagine our surprise when it was announced that Allora was only 13 years old! She truly was a Christian singer as she belted out “I Think God was a Cowboy at Heart” and performed her revised rendition of Patsy Cline’s “Back in Baby’s Arms,” entitled, “Back in Jesus’ Arms.” Allora also put a country twist to the traditional hymn, “Amazing Grace” – a powerful voice emanating from a lovely young lady.
Following the music, Elsie Frost was introduced and approached the podium to share her testimony. Her son, Lane Frost had been a championship bull rider who had died in the ring Lane in 1989, after being thrown from a bull named “Taking Care of Business,” during a competition and gouged by the bull. The bull’s horn had broken through Lane’s ribs and punctured a major artery. Lane was only 26 years old.
We watched a video about Lane – his rise up through the ranks of professional bull riding and then his tragic death, but his mother, Elsie, shared so much more with her audience, including Lane’s early life and love of bull riding, his problems in marriage and his relationship with God. She also shared the process – often very frustrating – in dealing with Hollywood as they produced the movie “8 Seconds,” a film about the life of Lane Frost, portrayed by actor Luke Perry.
Following this most powerful hour of Cowboy Church, we headed to cruise through the vendors – cowboy boots, hats, clothes, jewelry, livestock trailers, and anything else you can possibly imagine. We also visited the Horse Barn where I learned some new “Horse Facts.” Did you know…
- Horses and cows have skin that is 5 to 7 times thicker than a human’s.
- Horse’s teeth never stop growing.
- Horses sleep standing up.
- Horses have 16 muscles in each ear, allowing them to rotate their ears 180 degrees.
Next we watched several women’s events in the College Rodeo competition. We witnessed “Breakaway Calf Roping,” “Goat Slamming,” and “Barrel Racing.” The top winners from these first rounds would return later in the day for what they call the “short round.” As we travel and continue to learn, it amazes me how different things are in various parts of the country. For example, while in Maine we discovered that colleges there have “woodsman” teams that compete, whereas in Texas there are “rodeo” teams. On the coasts, you might find sailing or surf teams, second only to college ski teams in other states. We really do live in a remarkable country!
Our last stop was in the Cow Barn where livestock were being shown by people of all ages and judged by experts. I find it fascinating that there are actually livestock experts who can judge and speak confidently about the musculature and hip breadth and jawline of heifers! We mingled with the bovines for a while before calling it a day!
Every evening during the 17 days of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo there is a two-hour competition period, followed most nights by a major concert. We have tickets to return in two weeks to witness the professional competition and enjoy the sounds of Journey! More to follow… after a wonderful start as a cowgirl and cowboy! Let’s rodeo!
Stay Calm and Travel On…