Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ten Year Tradition

Last night marked the tenth year that Gayle and I have gone to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo together. We started going in sixth grade as part of her birthday party, and each year the number became fewer and fewer, until it was just us left. And we have never, and as long as we can help it, will never, miss a year. I only wish I could dig up all of the pictures from past years - wouldn't that be a treat?

Gayle and I before we left 
The view we met upon our arrival
Anyway, last night's rodeo experience was awesome, as usual, and I just love so much that we have this special tradition. It never fails to be an incredible night. We arrived at the rodeo grounds around 7:30pm, where we quickly went and rode our favorite ride before meandering over to the food tents. We settled on Pappa's BBQ, where I opted for the sliced pork sandwich. I piled it high with pickles and olives, and it really hit the spot. I love barbeque, but I hardly ever think of it on my own, so in a place where barbeque is aplenty, ordering it is a no-brainer.

We then headed inside in search of the roasted nuts stand. I love roasted nuts, especially almonds, if you will remember from when I went to London, so I obviously jumped at the chance to purchase some freshly roasted almonds.

Please notice the photobomber! 
After this, it was about time to head into Reliant Stadium to find our seats for the show. We made a little pit stop at the Maui Wowi stand, but not for our typical smoothie purchase. We have been waiting for years to be able to carry around the big cylinder-shaped slushie drinks, and since we are 21 now, we could not pass up this opportunity. Gayle went for the Pina Colada flavor, while I opted for a Strawberry Daiquiri. I was a bit concerned about the $13 I had just spent when I took my first sip and was met with a very strong taste. Gayle felt the same way about hers, so we proceeded to just drink the slushy part of it, letting all of the alcohol gather at the bottom. I guess we still have to get used to the taste of alcohol! Still, I won't lie and say I didn't feel like a real adult carrying it around. Hey, I'm new to this whole 21 thing!

Naturally, we had to document it
We settled into our seats just in time for the barrel races, the calf scramble, and the mutton bustin' - my three favorite rodeo events. The mutton bustin' is probably the cutest event at the rodeo by far, and I am going to do everything in my power to have my future kids participate in it. It's just so cute!

World's largest calf scramble
Mutton bustin'
And finally, bring on Blake Shelton. I really like a lot of Blake Shelton's songs, so I was excited to see him perform live. He put on a really great show, and you could tell that he really loved being there, which makes it even better. He even sang a George Strait song in honor of this Sunday night - George's last performance at the Houston Rodeo, and one of his last performances ever. That was awesome, and I am incredibly jealous that my parents will get to be there for that show - I am sure it will be unforgettable!

"It didn't take me long to figure out how proud Texans are to be from Texas"
"All my exes live in Texas"
After the show, we decided to use up a few more of our carnival tickets and ride both sets of swings, the slides, and the big ferris wheel. We left the park a little after midnight and though that is way past my bedtime, it was a great night with my best friend. Initially, we were bummed when we found out that Brad Paisley wasn't coming, because we have seen him for the past three or four years and he puts on an incredible show, but we powered through the setback and still ended up having a wonderful night.

Swings round two
A helicopter (or ferris wheel) view
I can't end this post without a shout out to all of the hundreds of volunteers that make the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo such a huge success. While I was riding the ferris wheel last night, I realized just how much work goes into putting an event like this together. It gets bigger and better every single year, and it takes a huge amount of dedicated people to make it possible. So, if any of y'all happen to come across this little blog, THANK YOU for all of your hard work. It does not go unnoticed! So, until next year, Rodeo Houston!

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