I’ve mentioned this before , but one of the ultimate perks of the decade-plus traveling and workamping we enjoyed is the many friendships that we formed. I can’t even tell you how many people with whom we have stayed in close contact throughout our travels, but San Antonio is the location of truly special friends. Terry and Brenda Vaupel, the managers of Travelers World RV Resort, are wonderful people and valuable friends – along with all of the “Winter Texans” that we got to know over our years of both working there and visiting. So it seems only natural that we would drive over 1300 miles to spend a week in the Mission City – and what a week it was!
If I wrote about the entire week in one blog, I’m sure I would lose you, so I decided to break it up into multiple posts hoping you’ll hang in there with me and enjoy our week vicariously!
Arriving on Saturday, February 13, we settled into our cottage, and immediately saw several people who welcomed us warmly. That evening there was a Valentine dinner dance, so we stopped in later in the evening to greet even more people. We made plans to start our rodeo experience the following morning at “Cowboy Church,” a very unique service within the cowboy culture. When you attend cowboy church you are also afforded free entrance to the rodeo fairgrounds, so we were planning on taking advantage of that as well.
The music at church was provided by Jarett Akers, a seasoned Christian cowboy with an amazing voice! On the verge of having his latest album released, he opted rather to sing popular hymns that everyone recognized. His performance was followed by a very inspirational message by Ralph McMullen, a successful businessman and motivational speaker, who simply shared his personal story, which centered around he and his wife being told by doctors 18 years ago to abort their child because he would have no quality of life. With the help of God and their faith, they chose not to end the pregnancy, and then Ralph introduced us to his son, Caleb, a high school student ranked 6th in this class and skilled in technology and music! What a moving story!
After church we roamed around the rodeo fairgrounds taking in the sights, sampled some rodeo food, and spent some time watching cowboy and cowgirls perform “cutting,” where a horse and rider work together to demonstrate the horse’s athleticism and ability to handle cattle. We also learned some interesting facts about horses, goats, and cows!
Did you know…
- Horses have 16 muscles in each ear. This enables them to rotate their ears 180 degrees.
- Horses have 205 bones.
- Horses and cows have skin that is 5-7 times thicker than a human’s.
- A goat giving birth is said to be “kidding.”
- A particular goat’s bleat will sound different from that of a goat in a different country.
- Goat meat is the most consumed meat per capita worldwide.
- Goats can be taught their name and come when called.
- A goat’s life span is about that of a dog.
- Cows sleep 14 hours a day and eat 8 hours a day – what a life!
- July is national Ice Cream Month as designated by Ronald Reagan.
- Americans drink an average of 400 glasses of milk per year.
- 80% of all cows give birth at night.
So, at your next cocktail party, with these facts you will surely impress!
The real rodeo excitement came on Monday night, Valentine’s Day, as this was the night we attended the nightly rodeo and concert following the competition. From 7-9 p.m. we experienced the following events – and my pictures don’t do them justice. We witnessed…
Saddle Bronc Riding
Barrel Racing – a women’s event!
Breakaway Roping – a new event for women!
Bull Riding – the most exciting 8 minutes – or not!
Mutton Busting – where children between 4-7 grab onto sheep and see how long they can stay on!
Can you match the photographs with the correct rodeo event?
To top off our evening, following the rodeo events each night, a concert takes place. We were entertained by the group now known as “Lady A” which was remarkable. They performed on a revolving stage and played a combination of their new work and their older familiar favorites. They shared that this was their first live performance since 2020. We can all appreciate that.
Couldn’t imagine a better start to our week in San Antonio…and it’s only Monday! Stay tuned!
Stay Calm and Travel On…