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girl in overalls kissing horse
girl in overalls kissing horse
Mikayla Lloyd
Life > Experiences

It Is, in Fact, My First Rodeo

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Never in my life, I would have imagined that I went to one of the biggest rodeos in the world until spring break this year.

For context, my only country experience is line dancing at Stetson’s at The Moon in Tallahassee. I’m from the DC/Baltimore area, and while it is not the city part, it is not exactly a rodeo region. I mean they could host a rodeo, but I don’t think many people would attend.

My sister and I were coming up with spring break ideas, considering places as far as Portugal. We then remembered that Austin and Houston were viable options since we had a friend from the area that we could stay with. So, we flew into Austin and drove a few hours to our friend’s place in Houston.

Everything is bigger in Texas, especially the rodeos. There was a carnival, livestock show and lines of stores selling all things southern. We skipped the carnival, since we have been to county fairs with similar rides already, and went straight to the livestock show and stores. The entire convention center was full of cows, pigs, sheep and any other farm animal you can think of. The middle of the convention center had an area that showed the cows who were being judged.

However, the NRG stadium featured the main attraction. We got to our seats in the evening to watch a series of events I had never seen before. There were 11 total events, so I’ll explain the most notable ones, ending with my favorite.

The first event was tiedown roping. Cowboys had to chase a calf down on their horse, lasso the calf, dismount the horse and then tie the calf’s legs together. If that sounds hard, that’s because it is! However, the fastest cowboys could do it all in under 10 seconds! There were other events that were similar but had their own variations, such as team roping (two cowboys roping the same calf) and steer wrestling (no rope, just wrestling the calf to the ground with bare hands).

The cowgirls had their own events too. First was barrel racing, where cowgirls rode their horses around three barrels in a clover shape. The fastest cowgirls complete this in about 13 to 14 seconds. Second was breakaway roping, which is similar to tiedown roping but the cowgirls let go of the rope once they lasso the calf instead of getting off their horse to tie it. The fastest competitor caught her calf in under three seconds!

Sidenote: it was fun to see the competitors’ names. One cowgirl was named “Kricket” and one cowboy was named “Creek.” A cowboy named “Sticky” was bucked from a bull which I think was a little ironic. There were other fun names but those three were my favorite.

Even some kids got to compete in a couple of events. First was the calf scramble. 30 kids were lined up to wrangle about 15 calves inside a box in the middle of the arena. The second event, and my favorite to watch, was Mutton Bustin’, where a bunch of five-year-olds go one at a time to hold on to the back of a sheep for as long as they can. You can watch the six-minute competition from March 15 here and see why this event was my favorite. The winners of these two events get college scholarships. All of the Houston Rodeo profits go towards funding these scholarships for kids part of the Future Farmer’s of America (FFA).

To top it all off, I got to see Kenny Chesney live. Each day of the rodeo, an artist closes the night with a concert about an hour long. Looking back, I’d say that coming to the rodeo and leaving with a new cowboy hat entails a successful country-themed vacation. Next time I go, I’ll get to say that it ain’t my first rodeo!

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Adrienne is an FSU graduate from Ellicott City, Maryland, with a Bachelor of Science in marketing and a minor in business analytics. She is returning to FSU in the fall to pursue an MBA while working as a graduate assistant for the College of Business. She also sings and plays cello for the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More. Some quick fun facts about her: she is ambidextrous, enjoys cliff-diving, and wants to visit every U.S. National Park. Adrienne is also a Disney adult in the making, always keeps up with anything related to Walt Disney World, and visited the theme park six times last year!