I am very keen to share what I had seen in Waco last Saturday (October 10). It was a night to remember (for our anniversary and now the first live rodeo!) as it marked the day I watched for the first time in my life through my own eyes the performance of top class professional rodeo! Growing up in Malaysia obviously means I had never watched any live rodeo shows before except those on TVs. And as God provided me the opportunity to step my feet on the land of Texas, what else shouldn’t I miss? To the locals perhaps this annual event is a chance for family/friends gathering and it is also the time to cheer and support the dearest ones whom are participating in the events.
Shielding beneath light copper-skinned of Asian features, guess we were the two-odd ones among the whole lot of local people dressed in denims and Hondo hats inside Coliseum – an indoor building within the Heart O’ Texas Complex. This is the venue where the professional rodeo championship is going to take place. Complimentary with $10 gate admission fee to Heart O’ Texas Fair, we were lucky to catch ‘Heartland ProRodeo Championships‘ at 7pm sharp which this event was considered like watching the country’s top rodeo performers on the arena! Traditionally, the season for competitive rodeo runs from spring through fall. According to the announcer, this Coliseum is where the stars are in-the-making as the road to Las Vegas (Nevada) for PRCA Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in December is from Waco!
Rodeo is a Spanish word that is akin to English as ’round-up’. In the old days, rodeo was an informal affair to test or exhibit the wild of the west and the cowboy skills which involved attempts to manage the cattle and horses. As rodeo gains more popularity, it becomes a sporting events and is designed to test the skill and speed of the cowboy and cowgirl athletes to manage horses and other livestock like bulls and cattle. Tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing are among the categories in the professional rodeo competition.
Particularly in United States, this sporting event is widely favored in Wyoming and Texas. And in Texas, Waco is the town to be to catch up with the rodeo emerging stars.
We thought we were early to reach Coliseum at half past six with to-go dinner each. Much to our surprise, the indoor Coliseum of the size of a football field (I think or larger!) was almost full. After analyzing the crowd’s pattern, we made a quick move to the north entrance and luck strikes twice. We got two beautiful seats, right at where the fencing of the livestock was (and where the show was going to begin). This spot was also strategically viewing the gigantic TV screen across the arena for close-up, re-run and commercials.
It began with United States of America national anthem in a very dramatic scene of a cowgirl riding on a white horse. She was holding proudly the Stars and Stripes. Followed by prayers to The Lord, then the rodeo championship kicked start about half past seven.
Check out some of the following video on what was happening there. It was a tough job and I doubt I could manage a wild horse but these cowboys were terrific!
Bareback bronc riding – he uses one hand to grip the handle to manage the wild horse! Phew!
Saddle Bronc Riding – he is single-handed gripping the rein to follow the rhythm of the horse!
Steer Wrestling – drop it, got it, Texas cowboy!
Team Roping – requires team work and accurate split second lassoing!
Bull Riding – the magical 8 seconds seem so long!
One of the most interesting events held was ‘kid riding on a lamb’ competition. These kids are just 4-5 years old!
Lamb Riding (kids) – the road to rodeo starts with riding a lamb then be a cowboy!
The event was well-coordinated, the announcers did an awesome job to entertain us and they also brought in comedians dressed like clowns performing on the arena. In fact, these are professional rodeo comedians! Rewinding a bit of our experience, we did laugh our heart out and so did the crowd!
All I have to say is marvelous, fantastic and exotic! My heart was captured!
P.S. If you are thinking of watching this event, do not miss the last rodeo show (Final) in Waco this year 7pm tonight – 17 October 2009!
Heart O’ Texas Fair Complex
4601 Bosque Boulevard
Waco, TX 76710