What to expect at the Rodeo

by Lauren Holzmann | staff writer

Each February, the city puts on their annual PRCA San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo. However, it’s not all middle aged men riding bulls and pretty women on horses, it also has a carnival and a long line up of singers to suit almost everyone’s music style.

There are many components to the rodeo that have led to their ten PRCA Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year awards. Each night of the rodeo, before the musicians come out, they have various rodeo events that keep people coming back year after year. Some of these gut-busting events include: bull riding, barrel racing and a crowd pleasing favorite, Mutton Bustin’.

Taking it all in at the SA Rodeo.
Taking it all in at the SA Rodeo.

While many may think they have lived through the rodeo experience just from seeing pictures and hearing stories, the real truth lies inside the gates. While the slogan says “It’s more than an eight second ride,” most fall off within the first five. On the rare occasion that someone is able to get a grip of the rope on the bull, they get to move on to the next round of competition.

“I think that you eat a lot of food and then you just watch bull riders just go WHOO! and then you just stick around for the music [spectacular] or whatever,” junior, Alyssa Pena said. “And then, sometimes there [are] rides. In my mind it’s like the Comal County Fair.”

Another silly event that takes place are the “Swifty Swine Sprints” that take place outside of the arena. The pigs go head to head in a fast paced piggy race to try and win a tasty prize. Each round, they pick a younger member of the audience and let each one select a pig to cheer for.

No matter what age, anyone can enjoy the carnival. With tickets in hand and a family of any shape or size, the carnival always seems to be the first thing everyone rushes to enjoy. Nonetheless, there are rides for everyone to look forward to. They have the ferris wheel for couples out on a rendezvous date or the skilled dart throwers trying to win the over-sized plush toys to secretly cuddle with at night.

Also spread out throughout the grounds, there are a bucket load of food trucks and trailers to suit everyone’s taste buds. They have roasted corn, deep fried food and barbeque to satisfy you to your hearts content. After you spend all your money on food and games, you then head inside to scream your lungs out over your favorite singer. This year they have chosen Joe Nichols as the opening act and then a long line of comedians, country singers, contemporary artists and much more!

There are many important behind the scene things that no one else really knows about the rodeo such as the fact that there are only about 33 full time employees that work to make the rodeo better and better each year but there are over 6,500 volunteers that come help throughout the year. What many people also may not know is most of the money the rodeo raises goes to scholarships for the performers and is in fact one of the highest and largest paying PRCA rodeo in America!

Each night before the rodeo starts, Mark Jones kicks off the night with his famous National Anthem. The last name may sound familiar because his cousin is country star George Jones! Mark Jones has been singing the National Anthem at the rodeo for over 20 years which means he has performed the song over 500 times!

After Jones does his thing, Miss Rodeo Texas comes out on her horse, jewels everywhere, one of a kind boots and handmade hat on her head.

When it comes time for the actual rodeo to start, after all of the pre-rituals, they have various events throughout the evening. Most of the animals the cowboys or cowgirls experience are all new to them. The horses used for bareback riding, are from the “Born to Buck” program. They also travel from over 2,000 miles away from Calgary, Canada,  and take a four day journey to help their riders win special awards.

No matter what suits your fancy, there is definitely something for everyone.

“There’s a lot of really good food, and the rides are really fun too. It’s just entertaining.” junior Madison Pixley said.

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