Friday, February 8, 2013

Let's Rodeo, San Antonio -- Fri., Feb. 8

What a kick! We had a rompin', stompin' good time at the rodeo last night. Just not enough time. I must go back.

Tuesdays are senior days (55+) and grounds admission (not the rodeo) is free. Looks like I have next Tuesday planned. Parking is still $10, however.

When we arrived on the rodeo grounds, we walked through the goat building on our way to find the wildlife zoo and reptiles.

When we came out the other side of the building and saw more and more buildings and arenas, it became obvious that we, like Alice in Wonderland, had fallen down a rabbit (or, goats in our case) hole and had no idea where we were or where we needed to be. We saw a sign for "maps," and the gentleman walked over to us, handed us a map and said, "This is the only free thing you're going to get here." (Not true, by the way.)

Saw a bright, shiny, old fire truck as we walked outside to our next destination...

Then it was off to the Wildlife Area. I especially wanted to see the reptiles and the wildlife zoo. First stop:

Fangs & Reptile House
Texas has a lot of different snakes! Many of them are venomous: rattlesnakes, cottonmouth water moccasins, copperheads, and coral snakes. Here are some of the Texas snakes and a couple of pythons.
Warning! Snake photos follow.

One big rattler!

Enough about snakes. Next we walked over to the Wildlife Zoo tent. This place made me want to go to Victoria, Texas to visit their zoo.

Beautiful coyote!
Ringtail cat.
The coati and ringtail cat are members of the raccoon family. We got to pet the coati. It was very interested in my ring. Apparently coatis love shiny things. Two deer were in an enclosure in the tent and another held a raccoon.

At an outdoor exhibit we learned about a 121 lb catfish caught in 2004. They named her Splash and she lived at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center for about two years. This exhibit has a replica of how big she was.

Splash and I.
For our RVing friends, here's a Toy Hauler they had on display. This unit is really plush. Bob and I love the rear patio feature on some Toy Haulers. We walked through and oohed and aahed over just about everything. We do not see one in our future, however, with a $92,000 price tag!

The Pillsbury Dough Boy put in a publicity appearance with his (her?) marketing manager.

I needed to pay a visit to the ladies room and was surprised to see the following flyer when I sat down on the "john." It's clever, but in the stall? Really?

Walking through the Wildlife area we saw a tent and sign that said "Dock Dogs." The scheduled time on the program for Dock Dogs was 5:00 p.m. It was 4:45 p.m. so we had time to look around a little and returned at the appointed time.

Curious as to what Dock Dogs were all about, we took our seats. The announcer came out and explained Dock Dogs are dogs that compete by diving into a tank of water. There are three levels of competition: big air, speed retrieve, and extreme vertical. Big air is the distance the dogs leap off the platform into the water, speed retrieve is a timed event in which the dog is timed from the 20' mark on the dock until the dog retrieves the toy from the bracket at the other end of the pool, extreme vertical is a high jump for dogs. The events are very fast-paced and hard to capture in photos, although I made a valiant effort.

Big air splash down.
Retrieving the ball after big air.
Dutch shepherd on the downward side of extreme vertical.
Dutch shepherd ready for another extreme vertical jump.
Here's my second attempt at a vertical jump photo.
We truly enjoyed watching Dock Dogs. The show wasn't nearly long enough. I'm thinking they have more competitors on the weekend. (We were there Thursday night.)

Hunger was setting in and we noticed the "Chuckwagon" tent was serving up free samples of many different items. We had baked beans, dill pickle, beef stew (Susan only), a Dole jello cup with mandarin oranges in it, and potato chips. We didn't even finish going down the Chuckwagon line.

We also lucked out being in the right place at the right time when peach cobbler came out of a Dutch oven. Mmmm...yummy, warm peach cobbler. I was so enthralled, I forgot to take a picture of the old-fashioned booth where they made it.

Chuckwagon tent with free samples all down the line.
Then it was off to the Swifty Swine Sprints. With a name like that on the schedule, we had to check it out. Too much fun. The piglets were racing to win a small package of Oreo cookies. First the one-year-old male piglets raced. They had names like Kevin Bacon and Brad Pig. Our bleachers were rooting for #3 Brad Pig who ended up winning this round.

Round 1--male piglets. Brad Pig in the lead.
 Next up, the one-year-old female piglets. Our bleachers were all in for Hamjolina Jolie. She didn't win.

No Hamjolina Jolie in this action shot. She freaked out and headed back to the starting line. The handlers had to chase her around to the finish.

A brief break was taken from pig racing to showcase Swifty the Swimming Pig. This little baby pig jumped right into a tank much larger than itself and swam about eight feet before hopping out on the other side.

Swifty the Swimming Pig
Pot-bellied pigs were the last to compete. They were pretty darn fast!

The next show was Pets Overboard, but we had a half hour, so we spent it in a tent showcasing agriculture and farming. In this tent we saw a honeybee exhibit, a dairy exhibit, angora goats, corn-growing exhibit, and Master Gardeners were on hand in case people had questions about anything garden-related. We had a free small sample of ice cream and they gave us apple slices on the way out.

Sunflower Susan. No wallflower here.
Angora goats--where mohair comes from. Dinnertime!
These boots are made for planting. So adorable.
[A wee bit of a silly story about, yes, I'll admit it, me. I saw people carrying around baskets and filling them with fruit and vegetables. Wow, I though, how generous to give away all that produce. I went up to the lady handing out the baskets and asked for one. She looked at me sideways and said, "Oh these are for the kids to go and collect the produce." Bob said, "Well, she's a kid at heart." So she gave me a basket. We started through the exhibits and I took a long, hard look at the tomatoes for us to pick up. They were PLASTIC! I was embarrassed. I took the basket and, when the lady wasn't looking, I stuck my basket back in one of the piles. Heh heh.]

Pets Overboard was a hot mess, really kitschy. The show took place aboard the ship HMS Vermin. The crew were, you guessed it, dogs, cats and rats. They don't call 'em Pi-RATs for nothin'. I don't need to see this show when I go back next Tuesday!

A cat leaping from "the plank."
Dancing dogs.
Show over.
Dinner was in order before the rodeo started at 7:00 p.m., so we walked the food court weighing our options. (Pun intended.) I had heard about all the deep fried foods at fairs and such, but had never seen them until Thursday night. We saw booths for: deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, deep-fried butter (I couldn't wrap my head or my hips around that one), and deep-fried pickles. We opted for bourbon chicken with red beans and rice. One portion heartily fed both of us for $10 and it was downright tasty to boot.

When we entered the AT&T arena the show was just starting, so we settled down to watch the evening unfold.

Presenting the colors.

The rodeo clown--lots of personality.
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo has been voted Rodeo of the Year for eight consecutive years for rodeos held in a large indoor area. They are very proud of this fact. This photo was the unveiling of the 2012 award.
2012 Rodeo of the Year -- Large Indoor
Bareback bronc riding. I don't see how these guys do it.
Team calf roping.
Individual calf roping.

This young man won the calf scramble. Photo taken off Jumbotron.

Individual calf roping.
Saddle bronc riding.
These horses are really agitated.

Xtreme bull riding
Another fun event was the children's mutton bustin'. Children ages 4-8 rode big woolly sheep as long as they could. They laid down on the sheep's back and held on for all they were worth. One at a time, a sheep would charge out of the holding pen and the poor kid would slide off sideways and hit the ground. The four year olds must have been petrified. One came off the sheep and was screaming his head off. Another little guy wouldn't even get on the sheep to begin with and they didn't force him to, thank goodness. The very last rider, an eight-year-old girl, rode for a bit and after she fell off, she got up, threw her arms up in the air and started dancing. What a goofball. She was having a blast and the audience loved her!

The rodeo was very professional and entertaining. Our seats were five rows back from the arena. A vendor had given some tickets to Bob's boss and we were given a pair of those. Sweet!

After the rodeo there was a 20-minute intermission while the stage was set up for Clay Walker. When we returned from the break we found a circular stage in the middle of the arena, right in front of us! Not only that but the stage rotated 360 degrees.

Clay Walker

Fun day, fun night and I can't wait to go back next Tuesday for some more exploration of the stock show and rodeo grounds. It's fun to look at all the animals, especially the horses. And then there's all the booths we didn't get to. So much to see and do. I'll go watch the Dock Dogs again too.

A week ago on our Volksmarch, we saw a bumper sticker that said, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!" We thought that was pretty clever and had a good laugh over it.

Welcome to new followers: Mark and Teri of (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong) Hidden Valley RV and Mello Mike of Mello Mike's Truck Camper Adventures. I'm so happy to see you here!

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