Alright, y’all. In case you didn’t know, it’s the most wonderful time of the year””in San Antonio, that is. It’s rodeo time!
As a San Antonio native, I grew up making a yearly pilgrimage to the rodeo, and it’s one of my favorite things to do in this city. If you’re new here or just haven’t gone in previous years, it’s time you fix that. Here are the best, the worst and the strangest things about this San Antonio staple that runs from now until March 1:
Best of the Rodeo:
I won’t go into TOO much detail about this because it would spoil the surprise for you rodeo virgins. I’ll just say this: sheep + children=cutest thing ever.
There’s something special about gnawing on a massive pulled pork sandwich from a slightly sketchy BBQ stand while you explore the sights. Maybe the food is actually that good, or maybe it’s just the atmosphere. Either way, you will pay for it, though””at the rodeo, prices are usually high and the good stuff isn’t always cheap.
It’s time to tap into your inner tacky Texan. Check out the plethora of stalls in the Freeman Coliseum for all the turquoise, silver and cowhide you could ever want And don’t forget the leather””sueded, hand-tooled, stitched, fringed, you name it. If you haven’t found a pair of cowboy boots yet, the selection at the rodeo is endless.
Worst of the Rodeo:
You’ll find your typical carnival rides at the rodeo, complete with sketchy rollercoasters. Some people like that. I, however, rode my first rollercoaster at this very rodeo, and I remain traumatized by the experience.
Not for vegetarians.
You’ll see a lot of cows, pigs and other livestock in the various barns. I’m sure you can guess where they end up. It’s just a fact of Texas agrarian life, but those of non-carnivorous sensibilities may want to steer clear.
Fun fact, though: the kids who raise these animals receive the profits, and the rodeo prides itself on providing grants and advancing students’s education.
Quirks of the Rodeo:
The calf scramble.
During this rodeo event, a herd of calves is released into the arena, and local youths try to catch them. The pitched battle between cows and humans is hilarious””these calves can hold their own.
Plus, each kid gets to keep his or her calf to raise for auction, which is pretty generous!
“Swifty Swine Sprints.”
Pigs racing on a track. “˜Nuff said. It may also involve pig diving. This event even includes an information session detailing everything you ever wanted to know about pigs.
Surprising live music acts.
Personally, I don’t find this very strange, but most wouldn’t ordinarily expect mariachi and flamenco music at a rodeo. We do, however, live in San Antonio, and Tex-Mex fusion extends to the rodeo in brilliant, beautiful ways.You might pass by one of these groups performing on the grounds if you’re lucky!
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo is famed as one of the best rodeos in the nation; no matter how country you are (or aren’t), you’ll have a helluva time. With plenty of food, rides and other attractions, the grounds alone are fun””but you won’t want to miss the thrill of the rodeo itself, from bulls and broncs to barrel racing.
Thursdays are college discount nights, so grab your boots and head out!