Chicago Sun-Times
With Lori Rackl

Giddy up, Houston: This is some rodeo

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For three weeks in March, Houston gets overtaken with what has to be the world's largest rodeo and livestock show.

I had the pleasure of attending this past March, just a day before Barack Obama dropped by to sit on a tractor and have a photo op. I missed Barack stump, but I did get to see Tim McGraw sing. Bor-ing.

Thankfully, the rest of the rodeo didn't disappoint. Tons of 4H-type exhibits are part of the show, and it was pretty cool watching baby chicks pluck their way out of their eggs and talking to breeders about the market value of prized cattles' sperm, which you can buy at the rodeo if you're so inclined. I was not.

This really is a great family event to build a vacation around. You can take the kids to the rodeo's petting zoo and they'll be entertained for hours walking past rows of tractors and farm equipment and animals ready to give birth on the spot. (They do, too. That's part of the show.)

Then there's the bazillion carnival rides outdoors and the nightly concerts with big name acts like Hannah Montana.

The best show of all is the riding competition. I loved sitting in Reliant Stadium, watching cowboys do their best to stay on a bucking bronco for 8 seconds. And who could be bored when guys come galloping into the ring and jump off their horses to wrestle a steer to the ground? Now if Tim McGraw could do that, I'd be impressed.

The whole thing is a real Texas -- make that Houston -- tradition. It doesn't feel touristy at all. It feels authentic -- and fun.

The next rodeo is March 3-22. Catch it if you can...

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This page contains a single entry by Lori Rackl published on May 28, 2008 4:58 AM.

Porting in St. Petersburg: go with the ship or go solo? was the previous entry in this blog.

Illinois getaways that won't guzzle too much gas is the next entry in this blog.

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