I was Texas Lorna for a few days last weekend, not quite as catchy but great fun was had by all. I love Austin; it has a fantastic vibe. We were there for the SXSW festival and enjoyed the parties and seeing friends. My liver, however, is quite please to be home.
This time, we’d taken the boys so I decided to see what else Austin had to offer. I just about survived the Duck Tour, with the boys delighted to be handed quackers to blow as we boarded the vessel, me, not so much! We didn’t have much time there so I thought a quick tour and a launch into a lake would give a quick introduction to the city. My favourite part was driving by a golf course. The driver made everyone blow their quackers just as a guy was about to tee off. He screwed up his shot and shook his fist at us. I’m still laughing about it now, it was like something from a film. I know, I know, not very mature.
We also headed out to the Austin Rodeo. I was so excited to experience a real, proper rodeo with cowboys and cattle, sunshine and barbecue.
The general area of the rodeo was a little disappointing. It’s probably from watching films, but I expected the rodeo to be on a ranch with lots of cattle and hay bales. I had skipped breakfast in anticipation of some genuine, delicious Texas barbecue. The outside of the main arena was just a state fair really. We have a fair here in Orange County once a year. A traveling fair shows up with dodgy rides and terrible fried food and that’s what the rodeo was.
That said two wristbands for endless rides and a deep fried Oreo later and the boys were in heaven.
I’d pre-booked tickets to the Xtreme Bull Riding, the main event of the day. And let me tell you, I only bought our tickets a few days before and the event was practically sold out. It was fascinating watching a completely different culture, I just sat in the stands and people watched. This was a big event for the Austin community. As the stadium went dark for the start of the show, lasers and fireworks blasted off and then flames lined the edge of the arena. The cowboys, about 30 of them in all, lined up along the length of the flames. The announcer then led the stadium in prayer. Some cowboys took a knee, all bowed their heads. The prayer asked not for winning or championships, just to keep the riders safer. I have to say, I was swept away by the romance of it all.
The bulls seem to know the routine, leap out of the pen, jostle around a bit, throw off the cowboy and then run back into the pen. We were near the pens where the bulls were kept before they leapt into the area, it was fascinating to watch it all take place. I just needed a friendly cowboy to sit next to me and explain the logistics! I had many questions to ask and keep meaning to read up more about it. Clearly, there are a lot of rules and regulations to bull riding! I should have just sidled up to one of these guys, I’m sure they’d have appreciated my enquiries.
Frankly, it looks quite easy, I don’t know what all the fuss was about:
I find it fascinating that there are so many cultures within the United States and really not that far away from one another. Here in California we’re surrounded by surf dudes and yet a couple of states over and it’s cowboy boots and hats. This country truly has a rich culture, I think people underestimate that sometimes. It’s so much more than hamburgers and ‘Have a nice day!’