I’ll admit–I’ve been somewhat biased against Texas even though I’ve been living an hour from the Texas/Oklahoma border for the past four years. It might have to do with the fact that Texans seem to be so much louder and prouder then people from other states, which was rather foreign to me as a Canadian. Growing up, I rarely remember being asked where I or my family was from originally whereas in America “Where are you from?” seemed to be one of the first questions folks asked each other.
However, this past weekend I finally made it to the great state of Texas (NOT in an airport–that doesn’t count) with my faithful sidekick Emily. Being the obliging folks that we are, we agreed to chaperone two friends on the trip to Texas to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. The annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo was a good show—it was the first big rodeo I’d been to, the previous rodeo being a small Oklahoma production not worth commenting on. We arrived at the arena about twenty minutes before the rodeo was scheduled to begin, so I entertained myself with people-watching. “Everything’s bigger in Texas” is a catchphrase I had often heard anytime the state was brought up in conversation. The corn dogs certainly were, as were the tractors, the bulls, and the indoor fireworks.
Perhaps the one rodeo act that stood out most was Whiplash the Capuchin Cowboy, a small primate clinging to a collie for dear life while the collie herded several goats into a white picket corral to the great delight of the children in the audience. Also featured was the first female bull rider to ever win money at a rodeo (who was bucked off right away at this rodeo, unfortunately) and a rope twirler whose showcase of talent included playing jump rope with his lasso while standing on the back of his horse. The rope twirler I found most fascinating, wondering how many hours were put into learning the delicate ballet like dance of wrist movements required to make the lasso get bigger and smaller, twirl faster and slower, and flick back and forth. He made his exit by making his lasso bigger and bigger until it encircled both rider and horse about a foot from the ground and then spurring his horse out of the arena at top speed, the lasso spinning around them all the while. This was all done in imitation of Will Rogers, whom I had not realized was such a legend in the South.
After the main event was over, my friends and I wandered over to the stock show. I wasn’t particularly interested in surveying row upon row of cows, miniature donkeys, and mules, but assumed that it had some sort of innate draw for my Texan friends. I was pleasantly surprised by how well a cow can clean up—the buildings were full of placid white and red Brahmas and shiny-coated calves. Each miniature donkey had a perfectly combed mane and oiled hooves. I quickly found a favourite; a tiny, wide-eyed, red calf who refused to be roused from his nap.
As a poor college student, I don’t have a cell phone. Instead, I text from a texting app installed on a seven inch tablet I got for my birthday. This requires the tablet to be connected to WiFi. Fortunately for me, Texas is the land of giant corn dogs and omnipresent Wifi. The rodeo arena had free wifi. After the rodeo, we stopped at Costco. I stayed in the car and discovered that Lowe’s had free wifi. As we fortified ourselves with snacks for the trip back to Oklahoma, we pulled into a gas station where I played Words With Friends on the 7-11′s Wifi.
Although I didn’t get to see a whole lot of Texas outside of the small town of Bowie and the Fort Worth rodeo grounds, I can safely say that I wouldn’t mind going back to visit. I didn’t get to see the vast ranchlands. I didn’t make it into any of Texas’s great cities such as Houston or Dallas. I didn’t get to go to The Alamo.
But giant corn dogs and free wifi? Sounds like my kind of place.