Friday, January 13, 2012

Cowboy Up!

YEEE-HAW, Y'all,
It's Stock Show and Rodeo time here in Fort Worth, Texas!!

Like many of you, I have fond memories of gearing up for a trip to this January-February tradition that dates back to 1896. When I was a kid this event was still called The Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo.

I grew up on the far southwest side of Fort Worth. So far south that we were part of the tiny public school district of Crowley. There was one elementary school and one high school. Prayer and a 'thought for the day' was part of the morning announcement, Jackie Carden was our principal, not the name of a school (yet), and come January you were handed an admission ticket with an image of a giant PIG and the words Fat Stock Show stamped across it. This was your day pass to visit the fair grounds at Will Rogers Coliseum, usually for the first Monday the event was open.
Learning to "Cowboy Up" is part of being a Little Britches

Somewhere along the way it seems the pig image and the word 'fat' was dropped from the title leaving us with today's Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. It's been LOTS of years since I took time to visit the grounds and rodeo, but that does not lessen the fond memories of it all.

The good, and not so good, hightlights of those memories include: wearing bluejeans, a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, holding my nose and 'watching where I step' while walking through the barns (sheep being my favorite), cotton candy being whirled around a paper cone and handed directly to me by sticky bare-hands, Whiplash the cowboy monkey, rain, cold temps, the heavy haze and smell of cigarette and cigar smoke that hung in the air during the rodeo, my dad's love of taking my brother and I to gather a peek into the cowboy way of life, and eventually growing into high school, marching in the band and being part of opening day parade.

There is something comforting knowing that men, women and children continue the Cowboy way of life. Attention to detail matters, and for some reason, I think care and consideration for the many skills and responsibilities that goes into showing an animal, roping and riding is pretty darn cool!
The value of such skills matter, and such matters are worthy of support. Oh, I didn't have such an appreciation back then. I was a bit of a goofy kid that spent an excessive amount of time LOL, but time passes and we grow up. Fortunately, the memories from a lot of decades-ago now whirl together with gratitude.

Here's hoping you will consider making your own memories this year!
PS: Be sure to click on the cotton candy and Whiplash, the cowboy monkey links above.
The child in your life, or in you, might get a kick out of these! =)