The Spurs are Back

Created Monday, 26 March 2007 14:43

They\’re BA-AAACK!

Written by Randy Watson

After reeling off a ridiculous 13 wins in a row, the Spurs dropped two straight.  This week they looked like world-beaters again winning three in a row, and knocking off the rival Pistons in the process.

San Antonio currently has the third best record in the West. . .and in the entire NBA.  If the past week is any indication of what’s to come, the Spurs look to be getting fired up for the upcoming playoffs.  The current win streak featured a 90-72 slapdown of the sinking Pacers, a one-point victory over the Pistons, and a massacre by 41 of lowly Seattle.  What’s more–with just under a month left in the season, San Antonio has already wrapped up a playoff spot.

Against the Pacers, Tim Duncan helped his team regain the form that allowed them to run off such a wicked streak by going 11 of 16 from the field for the game–19 points of which came before halftime.  The Spurs seemed to play with more focus, desire, and aggressiveness in this game than in the previous two.

In the game against Detroit, Tony Parker went for 22 points, and Tim Duncan scored 17 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.  No doubt the Spurs were looking at this game as a possible foreshadowing of a possible NBA Finals match-up.  Although the Spurs led most of the second half, it was still a gritty performance, and coach Popovich said that the game had all the excitement of a playoff game.

On Sunday, San Antonio rained on the Seattle Supersonics’ parade, 120-79, and were led by Manu Ginobili’s 19 points, 3 steals, and 4 rebounds.  The Argentine was deadly from long-range, burying 5 of 9 from behind the arc.  What was most impressive, was the fact that he did his damage in just 25 minutes, as lots of bench players saw the court.

Dallas seems to be the team to beat at this point, and San Antonio—at 9 games back–will have an almost impossible time catching the Mavs, but Phoenix is a different story.  Phoenix is three games up on the Spurs, but with the way the boys in black are playing, the heat may be on the Suns.

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San Antonio Nightlife

San Antonio Nightlife

Created Saturday, 24 March 2007 23:42

Written by Randy Watson

For those who enjoy the nightlife, San Antonio offers a wide-range of places to relax with a drink and friendly conversation.  From slick and trendy art bars, to saloons and cantinas, whatever your pleasure, you\’re sure to find a place to hoist a glass of your favorite beverage with some friendly locals.  Here are a few of the more popular haunts of San Antonio . . .Cheers!

 

· Medusa Lounge: Featuring an art gallery with many interesting works by local San Antonio artists, this cool cocktail bar offers a comfortable, tranquil place to imbibe and appreciate.  Medusa Lounge also shares a courtyard with Zinc next door, so bar hopping is quite easy, and you really get two bars for the price of one.
203 N Prensa St
Tel: 210.229.9995
· Club Antro: For anyone interested in electronic music, Antro provides the scene.  Hipness is the key word here, and Antro doesn’t disappoint.  Thursday nights are especially swinging.  DJs spin everything from techno to disco, and trance to reggaeton and rock en Espanol.
7959 Fredericksburg Rd
Tel: 210.949.5131
· Revolution Room:  Another in San Antonio’s growing list of hipster hangouts, Revolution Room makes patrons feel like they are in on the plot.  With pictures of Einstein, Che Guevara, and Ghandi, you can think deep thoughts, or dance to deep house on the underground dance floor.  Revolution Room is decked out in cool-blue lighting, and futuristic furniture.  It also features Wi-Fi and a great two dollar happy hour.
8123 Broadway
Tel: 210.320.4567
· Midnight Rodeo:  For those looking for a real San Antonio hoedown, this joint provides the real deal.  Put on your boots and hats and hit the floor to dance to the music of some of the hottest acts in the region.  The folks are always friendly, and all ages make up the clientele.  Hours and acts vary throughout the week, so it’s best to call ahead of time to confirm.
12260 Nacodoches Rd
Tel: 210.655.0040
· Azul:  Anyone interested in broadening their horizons should check out Azul.  Although the façade and décor say post-industrial, the music and drinks say international chic.  A favorite with young professionals who work downtown as well as tourists staying nearby, Azul caters as much to the after-work crowd, as the late-night one.  Don’t be surprised to hear acid jazz, bossa nova, or samba music being played.  Azul also features a drink list with specialties from Cuban mojitos, to Mexican margaritas, and Brazilian caipirinas.  Enjoy the Latin vibes as you chill out on one of their comfy couches.
248 Losoya St#A
Tel: 210.227.2985

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March Madness

Created Thursday, 22 March 2007 11:55

The first two rounds of the 2007 NCAA tournament are history and 16 teams remain.  Four of those will be playing in the Alamodome this weekend, but only one will be heading to Atlanta to the Final Four.  March 22 will see Texas A&M take on the University of Memphis, and Ohio State goes up against the University of Tennessee, with the winners meeting on the 24th to determine the winner of the South Regional.

Ohio State has spent some scattered weeks at the number one position in the rankings, and are led by super-freshman Greg Oden.  They are coming off a nail-biting overtime win over rival Ohio school, Xavier, and former employer of current OSU coach, Thad Matta.  Tennessee, led by Bruce Pearl, scored the highest number of points so far in the tourney, when they hung 121 on Long Beach State in the first round.  Tennessee loves to play pressure defense, and drain three-pointers.  Chris Lofton, the SEC player of the year, heads their aggressive attack, and can put a game away with his three point ability.  Ohio State beat the Volunteers by two points in their January match-up, and the Vols would love to return the favor by sending OSU back to Columbus.

In the other match-up, Memphis is out to prove that their ridiculous 32-3 record is no joke.  Many people are saying that Memphis has been fattening up on mediocre teams, by coming out of the weak Conference USA, but anyone who has seen them play knows that they has as much talent as anyone in the tourney.  The Tigers are out to prove that even though they are young (5 freshmen, 6 sophomores, 1 senior), they aren’t a bunch of kittens.  Their sophomore guard and leader Chris Douglas-Roberts is averaging 15.3 points a game, but injured his ankle in their last game against Nevada.  Memphis will be going up against what is sure to be the hometown favorite, and the only team remaining from Texas, Texas A&M.  The Alamodome should be awash in a sea of Aggie maroon, as Billy Gillespie leads his team back to their home state.  The Aggies are coming off a narrow win over Louisville, in what was one of the most exciting games in the tournament, so far.  A&M point guard Acie Law IV is the player responsible for leading the Aggies, who were winless in the Big 12 just three years ago.  Law is coming off a 26 point performance which has sparked A&M to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 27 years.  After having to play Louisville in Kentucky, it’s only fair that the Aggies get to have some Texas cooking and support as they try to keep their run to the championship alive!

Texas A&M/Memphis tip off Thursday, March 22 at 7:27 P.M.

Ohio State/Tennessee tip off afterwards at 9:57 P.M.

The winners will then have a day off to rest, before taking each other on Saturday for a trip to the Final Four in Atlanta.

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Poteet Strawberry Festival

Created Monday, 19 March 2007 20:21

The 60th Annual Poteet Strawberry Festival is set to kick off on the weekend of April 13-15, 2007.  For those that don’t know what the festival is, rest assured it’s much more than just strawberries (although there are plenty of those)!  The festival is one of Texas’ most popular annual gatherings, typically drawing more than 100,000 people from all over the United States, and infusing the local economy with around $10 million each year, and offering a real glimpse into what makes Texas tick!

 

The attractions featured are suitable for the whole family, and feature an Arts and Crafts show, Festival Rodeo, dances, food exhibitions, auctions, gunfights, a strawberry eating contest, shopping, helicopter rides, and the Alamo Attractions Carnival. . .oh, and did we forget to mention music?  This year’s nationally-acclaimed country music headliners are Craig Morgan and Pam Tillis.  Craig Morgan is one of the hottest new country music stars to burst onto the scene in recent years, producing such hits as Almost Home, I Got You, and That’s What I Love About Sunday, which was the most popular song of the year, spending over a month at number one on the charts!  Craig will be performing Saturday, April 14 at 5 P.M.  Pam Tillis is the ultra-talented singer/songwriting daughter of the legendary Mel Tillis, and author of such hits as Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Mi Vida Loca, Shake the Sugar Tree, and Let That Pony Run.  Pam was the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year in 1994, and will be performing on Sunday, April 15 at 5 P.M.  Also, many tejano acts will be performing, and there are many opportunities to dance and enjoy real southwestern culture.

A new addition to the Poteet Strawberry Festival this year is the BBQ Cook-Off.  If you have a hankering for some good old-fashioned South Texas grub, you won’t want to miss this!  The prize money goes to benefit the Festival Scholarship Fund, and the winners receive prizes, trophies, and ribbons, and will be judged on what culinary concoctions they can conceive for chicken, brisket, spare ribs, and beans.  The cook-off is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, with judging times throughout the day.  Come on down and see what’s cooking!

In addition to enjoying all the good eats, tunes, and shows, be sure not to miss the Lion’s Club Rodeo, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at 2 P.M.  The action this year features bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tiedown calf roping, team roping, girl’s barrel racing, and bull riding.  This is a great chance to bring the kids to see real cowboys doing their thing.

This year’s Poteet Strawberry Festival should be another in a long line of exciting, educational, and entertaining exhibitions.  Entrance is free on Friday evening, and admission is $10 for adults, and children under 12 are admitted free on Saturday and Sunday.  Round up all your friends and family and head down for what is sure to be a great southwestern weekend!

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Fiesta Capital

Created Tuesday, 13 March 2007 10:46

The Fiesta Captital

Written by Randy Watson

What is there in this city that makes it the fiesta capital?

History, culture, fun and excitement abound in this city of the Wild West.

The city of San Antonio started out as an old Spanish mission in the 18th century. That old mission, San Antonio de Valero, became known as the Alamo, where 200 defenders died to the last man defending it from the Mexican Army of General Santa Anna. The chapel of Alamo and the Long Barracks are still standing, right at the heart of downtown San Antonio. It is one of the country\’s top tourist destinations.

Now, the hallowed grounds of the Alamo are a National Historic Landmark.  Visitors can visit the Alamo and stand at the spot where the brave defenders of the Alamo had their last stand. The original foundation stones near the stairway leading down to the Paseo del Rio can still be seen. The location of the Palisade, a section of the fort defended by David Crockett and the Tennessee Volunteers, is marked in the plaza with paving stones. The north wall where William B. Travis was killed now lies under the U.S. Post Office Building.

San Antonio de Valero is not the only Spanish mission in the area. A chain of missions were established along the San Antonio river, and the missions now are part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, including Mission San Jose, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, and Mission San Juan Capistrano.  The missions were founded as part of the Spanish attempts to colonize the natives and gain a foothold on Texas before the French could encroach in from Louisiana. Guided tours, Museums, Shows, Bookstores and other activities are some of the attractions of the Park.

Directly across from the Alamo are some of the more memorable places to visit in San Antonio, including the Guinness World Record Museum, Ripley\’s Believe It Or Not Haunted Adventure and Davy Crockett\’s Tall Tales Museum. The Guinness World Records Museum is 10,000 square feet of exhibits featuring videos, games, artifacts and exhibits that bring the book to life. Ripley\’s is a ride through a haunted house with multi million dollars worth of special effects designed to terrify even the bravest souls. Davy Crockett\’s Tall Tales Museum is a theme park type ride through the life and times of Davy Crockett as told by Davy himself.

The River Walk at San Antonio, or the Paseo del Rio, is the second most famous attraction of San Antonio. The river level is a whole different area of San Antonio, a series of cobblestone walkways around the San Antonio River. The river level is pedestrian level one story down from the traffic at downtown level. It connects a lot of the city\’s tourist attractions, including Alamo Plaza, HemisFair Park, and Rivercenter Mall,  and features towering trees and lush gardens. Boat rides on the San Antonio River are also a popular way to see the River Walk.  Hotels, Restaurants and other establishments also abound in the river walk level.

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Victoria Texas Ballet

Created Sunday, 11 March 2007 14:06

Victoria Texas Ballet

Written by Randy Watson

This non-profit organization was established in April 1984, and they conduct performances for the enjoyment of the residents in Victoria. Their main objective is to be able to promote dance not only in Victoria, but also in the other communities in the South Texas area. This purpose is to be able to encourage people who  have talent to develop their skills and not to let it go to waste. Also, Victoria Ballet Theater allows their residents to be able to see high quality entertainment without the need to visit their neighboring communities such as Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston or San Antonio. Over the years, they have proven their worth as a dance organization. They have members within their local area and nationally renowned artists. This group was able to gain fans, as they were able to create outstanding performances.

Every year, Victoria Ballet presents two presentations for the enjoyment of their people. These presentations featured amazing performers, wonderful costumes and beautifully adorned sets that will definitely capture the attention of their guests. Each of these presentations will be something that the attendees will enjoy and will look forward to in the next year. The first presentation is the Annual Spring Gala, which is a mixed repertory program and the annual performance of Tchaikovsky\’s The Nutcracker, which has been set to as a part of their December tradition.

During their Annual Spring Gala, Victoria Ballet Theater will allow you to experience a wide range of different masterpieces in the performing arts. From Classical masterpieces to diverse entertainment to Contemporary masterpieces, Victoria Ballet will surely have something that you will enjoy. This year’s Spring Gala features the La Fille mal Gardée. This is a mixture of rural passion with a little hint of tenderness and to lighten up the mood, comedy. This ballet is a tale of a love wherein it seems so perfect but it is against the odds. The main characters for the ballet are Lise, the beautiful girl who fell in love with a farmer, Colas, the local farm lad whom Lise loves so much, of course, Widow Simone, the mother of Lise who is set to make the love life of Lise and Colas difficult because she does not approve for Colas to be her daughter’s husband, Thomas, the wealthy vineyard owner and his smart, attractive son, Alain. These characters will bring to life a romance that will surely make your heart fall in love and laugh at the same time! This year’s Spring Gala was March 3 & 4, 2007. Take the time to find out information about next years Spring Gala.

The second presentation featured in Victoria Ballet is the famous Tchaikovsky\’s The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky composed this masterpiece in 1981-1982 but he was not satisfied with the outcome so he considered it a lesser quality compared to his other pieces. This ballet debuted on December 18, 1982, as a double premier with Tchaikovsky\’s last opera. During this time, it was able to have limited success. Over the years, there have been different versions for this ballet but some of the original works of Tchaikovsky remained intact. Today, this seemingly low quality piece of Tchaikovsky is one of the most popular ballets around the world especially during Christmas.

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Houston Theater

Created Saturday, 10 March 2007 20:56

Houston Theater

Written by Randy Watson

If you happen to be in Houston and are looking for a place to hang out and watch a live performance or grab some popcorn and watch a movie, this place is for you! This 17-block area located in the heart of Houston contains different types of entertainment that could match to your needs!

It ranks second to New York in terms of the most number of theater seats concentrated in a downtown area. It also plays host to nine world-class performing arts organizations, a 130,000 square foot entertainment complex, high class restaurants, parks and plazas! This place is none other than the Houston Theater District!

This place is one of the most visited places in Texas because of an approximately two million visitors per year! This record is no surprise because this place is really a must-see. This place is really famous because of its different tourist attractions. It includes a large multi-level building known as the Bayou Place entertainment complex, which houses a lot of restaurants, bars, theaters and art house films. It seems as if you can find everything in this place!

Another places for hang out is The Houston Verizon Wireless Theater that hosts a lot of live concerts. It is located at the corner of Texas and Bagby in the Bayou Place entertainment complex. This is a very flexible place in terms of its seating arrangements because there are three variations of seating arrangements to choose from. It could be done traditional theater rows, cabaret tables or standing room. It all depends on the type of performance that will take place.

This place is not only known for gimmicks and night out but it is also a well-known place wherein Broadway shows are held. This place is also one of the five cities that is a permanent resident for different performing arts disciplines. These are the Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Houston Ballet, which is the fifth largest ballet troupe in the United States and Alley Theater, which was awarded as the Tony Awards best regional theater in 1996.

A resident for the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera is the Gus S. Wortham Center that opened during the year 1987. It is located at the corner of Smith and Texas. It is a 437, 000 square foot building that was funded by a private sector.

Another tourist attraction is the different parks such as the Sesquicentennial Park, Heritage Society and Tranquility Park. These parks are good places for biking and other outdoor events. A museum such as the Museum of Texas History contains a lot of interesting materials from Spanish era to the recent space exploration. That’s not all; Houston Theater District is also a place for some underwater adventure because of its Downtown Aquarium. It is a 500,000 gallons of different sea creatures and an underwater dining place as well.

If you are just a few blocks away from these huge entertainment palaces, then do not miss the chance to see a movie or a live concert in this place. You will not regret it!

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Museums

Created Saturday, 10 March 2007 09:16

Here’s a short guide for people who wish to check the museums of San Antonio and what they have in store for its visitors.

First in the list is the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. The museum offers unique interactive exhibits (like Gunfighters:  Outlaws and Lawmen of the Old West), which are both educational and fun.  In addition to the regular museum, four more museums make up the Buckhorn.  These include the Fins, Feathers, Horns, and the Hall of Texas History Wax Museums.  The Buckhorn Saloon is considered to be one of the best places to enjoy cold beer and great steaks.  The Buckhorn also has its own arcade and a curio store, which is known as the World’s Oddest Store because of the rare and odd items it offers.

The Mcnay Art Museum was built by Marion Koogler Mcnay in the 1920s, and was opened in 1954.  The museum showcases modern art and offers various educational programs for family visits and field trips alike.  Current exhibitions include the works of PaulGauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso, just to name a few.

The San Antonio Children’s Museum is a museum that really is meant for children, to have fun that is. (Where else could you play in a museum?)  The Museum’s motto is “where children play to learn, and adults learn to play.”  Some of the museum’s exhibits include Runway#9 (where kids go on pretend flights anywhere they want), Good Cents Bank (where kids learn about bank accounts and atm cards, scaryyy), Holt End front loader (where kids work in a construction site), and Tooth Booth (where kids learn about teeth and dental care).  All in all, the Children’s Museum is more like a theme park, but a very educational one.

Now if you’re a fan of airplanes, then the Texas Air Museum is simply a must see.  The Museum has on display some of the earliest models in aviation history including the rare Focke Wulfe 190 (which was used by the Russians during WWII), Katherine Stinson’s Bleriot, and a vintage Waco 10.  The museum exhibits not only well preserved or restored aircraft models, but uniforms, weapons, and other items that were part of aviation history as well.  This is because the museum dedicates itself on sharing San Antonio’s role in the development of military air power.  This is why most of exhibits dwell on WWII.  It pays tribute to the people who were pioneers in the aviation industry, and to those who gave their lives for freedom and liberty.

Similarly, the Texas Transportation Museum (TTM) also collects, preserves, and displays aviation equipment, but it focuses on different modes of transportation as well.  The museum provides information on all kinds of transportation in and around San Antonio.  It began in 1964, and to this day, it is operated and maintained by volunteers who have a common love for vehicles.  The museum offers regularly scheduled train rides as part of its program.  The museum’s latest projects include the Raise the Roof Barbecue (a fund raising activity, and an invitation to people to help improve the museum), Restoration of the sleeper car McKeever and Santa Fe Business Car 404, and training of people interested in operating a locomotive.

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Mission Trail

Created Thursday, 08 March 2007 18:02

The Mission Trail

Written by Randy Watson

The Mission Trail refers to the missions established along the stretch of the San Antonio River.  The purpose of these missions was both religious and economic in nature, as the Indians converts were educated to become devout Catholics and productive members of the Spanish community.  There are 5 missions in this trail, namely Mission San Antonio de Valero (more commonly known as the Alamo), Mission Concepcion, Mission San Francisco de la Espada, Mission San Jose, and Mission San Juan Capistrano.  A common misconception is that these missions were the churches themselves, but in fact the missions refer to the towns.  The Church in each of these missions was the center of community life.

Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo) played an important role in Texas History.  It is the fort where 189 defenders took their stand against the army of Mexican General Santa Anna during the Texas Revolution.  Today, this fort remains as the symbol of Texan Liberty, for it was due to the sacrifice of these brave men that Texas was able to attain its independence.  As Sam Houston, (the man who eventually defeated General Santa Anna in the Battle of Jacinta) would say, \”Remember the Alamo.\”  The Chapel and the Long Barracks are all that remain of this historic fort today while artifacts and a narration of its fall are displayed at the Long Barracks Museum and Library.

Mission Nuestra Señora de la Concepción de Acuña (Mission Concepcion) was named in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Juan de Acuña, the Marqués de Casafuerte (Viceroy of Mexico) when it was transferred to the San Antonio River area.  It originally belonged to a group of six missions established to prevent the French from entering the Spanish territory.  It was founded in 1716 where modern day East Texas lies.  Since then, the mission had been transferred several times until it ended where it stands today.  Here, the missionaries administered many sacraments, practiced rituals, and made way for the acceptance of Christianity among the native American community.  To this day, Mission Concepcion is considered to be the most preserved in the San Antonio historical park.  Although most of its surface has faded or worn out, there are still three rooms that clearly show frescos, intricate art forms, which were believed to cover most of its interior and its exterior as well back in its early days.

Mission San Francisco de la Espada was originally founded in 1690 as Mission San Franciso de los Tejas.  It was moved to the San Antonio river in 1731 and was renamed de la Espada. What’s unique about this mission is its still functional irrigation system that includes the Espada dam and aqueduct, which dates back 2 centuries ago.

Mission San Jose was founded by Father Antonio Margil de Jesus in 1720, and is considered to be the largest among the five missions.  In its height, it supported 300 inhabitants with its vast fields and herds of livestock, which is why it was also known as the Queen of the Missions.  The main attraction of the mission is the San Jose Church, with its very notable façade which includes the sculptures of the Saint Anne holding the baby Mary and San Joacquin on either side, its intricately designed door, and the famous Rose Window.

Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded 1716.  Similar to Mission San Francisco, and Mission Concepcion, it was also moved from East Texas to the San Antonio river in 1731.  The mission itself was self-sustaining, and it served the San Antonio missions by providing agricultural products and livestock.  It had such a thriving economy that it was able to outlast epidemics and Indian attacks in its final years.

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Houston Rodeo

Created Wednesday, 07 March 2007 22:04

Houston Rodeo

Written by Randy Watson

Imagine a huge rodeo show packed with a huge cheering crowd, waving their cowboy hats in the air as an energetic livestock and rodeo show starts. Match that cowboy hat with a nice leather boots and kick up the heels! If you are hyped by these words, then why don\’t you go Texas\’ most attended event: the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo!

No one could beat a rodeo show if it is done in Texas. This is one of the most celebrated events in Texas and it is considered as the most attended livestock and rodeo event in the world. Its attendees could reach up to two and a half million per year. Because this is a huge event, it requires about sixteen thousand volunteers to ensure the safety of the occasion.

This show is a fun filled event that is sure to boost your energy. It consists of different events such as livestock show, rodeo performance from the top cowboys in the land and backs it up with a live performance from your favorite artists! Other events are parades, carnival, shopping, sales, wine competition and a lot more! There is surely an event that every member of your family would enjoy. Now, that is surely an event you would not want to miss!

Top livestock exhibitors gather in this event during the livestock show. During the 2006 show, it was able to gather around 27, 000 participants. This show is not limited for adults because kids ages eight to nineteen are also welcome to exhibit their livestock, but they do the show under the supervision of an adult, which is usually their agricultural science teacher. This is your chance to exhibit your favorite livestock and get a chance to earn some cash.

The rodeo performances are divided into six ProRodeo events and an entry for the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. It includes a lot of categories such as bareback bronc riding, barrel racing, the exciting bull riding, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling and team roping. You will surely be amazed by the performances of the cowboys and cowgirls during this event. This is another chance to earn big bucks because this event includes a rodeo competition. We are talking about big bucks because during the 2005 rodeo show, the winner was able to take home a whopping $748,000!

If horse back riding and livestock performance is not your thing, then this event could be your most awaited performance and it could feature your favorite artist! A lot of big names in the music industry have been drawn to perform in this event because of its large crowd. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was able to play as host for the most popular names of the music industry during their generation.

This is an event wherein all the members of your family would enjoy. Make sure to grab a ticket for this three-week long affair and don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of the huge crowd!

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