The trail riders rode in on horseback from all parts of the state. If you’re new to Houston and don’t know what a trail ride is, chairman Phillip Martin explains:
“About 60 years ago before there was radio, well most forms of radio, internet no internet, they wanted to get the word out that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was about to get started, and they figured the best way they could do it was to have a trail ride. And they would have some of the groups ride in and go all the way downtown and get the word out that the show is coming.”
Brenda Whited has been riding with the Fort Bend Vaqueros for 21 years. She says for those who’ve never done it, it can take bit of getting used to.
“No showers, having to use portacans things like that. Cooking out, you know not just going and opening the refrigerator every time you want something to eat.”
On their journey to Houston, the riders live a life similar to early settlers, traveling during the day and setting up camp at night. Diane Kane moved to Houston from Arizona just a few years ago, so this was her first trail ride.
“It was awesome. It was absolutely awesome. You build such camaraderie with the people you’re with. You pitch in and help everybody out. The food is great the fun is great, the people are great.”
It was Mississippi resident Earnest Robertson’s first ride as well. I asked him what he did each day.
“Well, we cooked a little meal and had a little fun with good people. Then we went on to bed and got some sleep for the next day.”
Almost everyone had heard the news about the wife of former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon being arrested for having a little too much fun with her male companion on a trail ride. Brenda Whited just laughed when I asked her about it.
“Yeah, we heard about that. Well, you know its family oriented, come on.”
Theres an awards ceremony in which prizes are given to riders with the most authentic clothes and wagons. Then tonight, some will sleep … for others, it’ll be one big party.