Sunday, March 19, 2017


The last time I went to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was in 2004.  By this you can tell that I'm not much of a rodeo fan.  But this year my daughter was on a rodeo committee (She had won the Houston Livestock scholarship when she was in vet school and wanted to give back.)  As a committee member she could go to the livestock show and any or all of the rodeo performances free and sit in any empty seat unless someone claimed it.  She could also bring one guest each time she went, so when she asked me if I wanted to go, I thought, "Why not?" Besides, Willie Nelson, my favorite country singer, was performing yesterday so that was another enticement.

Yesterday was not quite what we planned, but it was certainly an adventure.  We decided to take the Metro bus because it would let us off closer to NRG stadium that any other way we could go.  Still a long way, and since I've always been a slow walker (not just in recent years but always)  Lori suggested we rent a wheelchair for me.  It was $25 but we were getting in for free, so why not?  Lori had to leave her driver's license, which made her a little nervous, but not too much.

Riding in the wheelchair was great.  We zoomed across the crowded parking area, the only problem being that, as a novice wheelchair navigator, Lori sometimes couldn't judge how far behind people we were and a couple of times we nicked someone's heel.  

We went to the livestock show first. The bunny area was too crowded so, unfortunately, we missed them but we saw other animals, then bought barbecue for lunch.  People always say you get the best barbecue at the rodeo, but this was awful.  I took a couple of bites and Lori ate some more of it.  Not being true rodeo foodies, we didn't get any of the fried desserts--ice cream, Twinkies, oreos,  pecan pies--yuck.  Who needs batter on all these goodies even if it is standard for rodeo goers.

We went through the shopping area and I was sorely tempted to buy a bracelet at the booth that sells jewelry made of broken china, but it cost $200 and was a little big large for my small wrists so I passed it up.  

Then we walked over to the stadium.  That's when it all went wrong.  The wheelchair couldn't go through the regular gates so we were directed to a service elevator, where a lot of other people were waiting.  We decided to go to the first floor because that would have the best view.  They wouldn't let us in.  Well, not us but me.  She could sit anywhere but I couldn't go into the wheelchair section because I didn't have a ticket, even though I was her guest. I really don't need a wheelchair so we could have abandoned it, but what about Lori's driver's licnese?  We couldn't take a chance.  We tried several entrances, we tried guest services, but there was no where to check the chair and no way for me to get a ticket since the performance was sold out.  We decided to try one more floor and  then go home.

We were in line for an elevator, and as the almost full one was about to close, a woman came rushing by, yelling at the elevator guy, "Do you have room for one more?" She bumped into my chair as she charged by but she was too late for the elevtor.  When she apologized for bumping me, Lori noticed she was wearing a rodeo committee badge and told her our dilemma.  "Oh well," she said, "since I cut in line in front of you, just come with me and I'll take you somewhere you can see the rodeo."  Off we went to the third floor and the Corral Club, which is private, and she said, "You won't be able to sit in the stadium but you can watch the whole thing on the big screen."  She gave us her name and said, "If anyone asks you, just tell them you're my guests."  Great!

The rodeo had started but we got to see most of it--bronc riding, bull riding, calf scramble, wagon race and, most fun of all, mutton busting.  Children of about 5 or 6 years ride across the arena on the back of a sheep.  Of course, some fell off and one little girl cried for the rest of the event, but then they all smiled for the camera, showing missing teeth.

And then, of course, we got to see Willie.  He's getting up in years (I say that because he's older than I am)  and he's lost some range but his tone is still pure Willie. He sang songs I knew like On the Road Again (of course) and Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain.  It was a great show.

We zipped back to the rental place, Lori got her license back, and we didn't have to stand in line very long for the bus.   It was a great day, and oh yes, Lori even brought a bandana for me to wear.  



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