Fort Worth, Texas (conclusion)

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However, it was our walk past a sign advertising live rodeos every Friday and Saturday night at 8 PM that really caught my attention. I had never been to a rodeo but had always wanted to see one. Therefore, we spent $30 for two tickets. We still had two hours to kill before the rodeo began so we got in the car and drove to a highly recommended Texas BBQ joint I found on the internet. The name of the restaurant was Cousin's. It is a chain in Texas. The food was very good but not the best I've ever had. Oddly enough, the best Texas BBQ I've ever had was during our visit to Durango, Colorado during our Southwest vacation in 2007. When it came to dessert, however, the peach cobbler at Cousin's was the best I've ever tasted.

time for some Texas BBQ


Our First Rodeo

We drove back to the Stockyards and ended up getting the same fantastic parking spot we had when we were there earlier. The rodeo took place in the Cowtown Coliseum. Established in 1907, it is the oldest indoor rodeo arena in the U.S.. Cowboys from all over the world come here to compete for prize money.

The rodeo began with an opening ceremony that included a cowgirl carrying the American flag while lapping the arena on horseback. The national anthem was sung and a prayer for the safety of the competitors was led by the emcee.

The events of the rodeo were bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, barrel racing, and two rounds of bull riding. There were also events to get the children involved such as the calf scramble. During this event, children from the audience were invited into the arena to try to pull a ribbon off the back of a calf that seemed to be running for its life. There is also a mutton scramble version for younger children.

The emcee was very good at explaining the rules and judging criteria for each rodeo event. I found myself rooting for the calf (not the cowboy) in the calf roping event. As the calf was running a cowboy on a horse would lasso the calf around the neck, throw the calf to the ground (called flanking), and then tie at least three legs together. The cowboy that executes this procedure the quickest wins the money. The counter momentum produced from the lasso catching the calf's neck was sometimes enough to yank the calf off its feet as if it had run into a clothes line at full speed. The horse is trained to keep the rope taunt as the rider dismounts and ties the calf. The horse would sometimes over-compensate and cause the calf to tumble head over hooves letting out a cry. Even though the calf seems to nonchalantly trot away after being untied, I could have passed on that event.

As for the bronco riding and bull riding, it was exciting when a rider could actually stay on a horse or bull for the 8 seconds required for a qualifying ride. It turned out to be a good night for the bulls but a bad one for the riders as only two out of the eighteen or so cowboys were able stay on for a qualifying ride on these 1,800-pound beasts. We were reminded just how dangerous this sport can be when one unfortunate cowboy was bucked off into the path of the bull he was riding. He took a few hooves to the body before the bull fighters (rodeo clowns) could rescue him. Fortunately, the cowboy was able to walk out of the arena without even a limp. Another rider did not have the same luck. He got bucked off into the metal gate. The paramedics had to work on him for a few minutes before they could get him to his feet and walk him out of the arena.

"Please rise for our national anthem."


bull riding


calf roping - a bit harsh


Ouch! The bull stomped the rider.


bad night for the cowboys


finally, a qualifying 8-second ride


In general, Traci and I enjoyed our night out at the rodeo. We agreed we probably would not go out of our way to attend another one, but it was nice to at least say we've seen a live rodeo.

The Potter's House

Before we knew it, Sunday had arrived and our weekend in Fort Worth was drawing to a close. We were scheduled to fly to Tampa, Florida that afternoon where we would begin the 5-day One Love Gospel Cruise the following day on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas. Realizing we'd have to drive through Dallas to catch our flight out of Dallas Love Field Airport, we made plans to attend the 8 AM service at The Potter's House where Bishop T.D Jakes presides. Despite being a very large church with camera booms and other television production equipment, it still manages to have a down-home feel. Traci and I were seated in the elevated visitor section. As I scanned the congregation below, I noticed the award-winning gospel artist Fred Hammond sitting in the audience. We enjoyed the service. The choir was excellent and T.D. Jakes delivered an engaging sermon complete with sound effects and him singing old hymns. This was a great ending for the Texas leg of our trip and a great beginning for the One Love Gospel Cruise.


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