More than 3,000 visitors are expected to arrive this coming weekend for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
However, these visitors won’t be traveling by any motorized vehicles on Houston’s crowded freeways, nor will they be arriving at either major airport.
Instead, they will be riding on horseback or in wagons to celebrate a Texas tradition in Texas style.
The trail ride tradition started in 1952, as four men rode from Brenham to Houston to promote the rodeo.
Nearly 70 years later, the event is a statewide celebration of Texas heritage, with riders from all races and ethnicities joining together to take in the natural beauty of Texas in the early springtime.
Last year, organizers reportedly put together 11 trail rides, covering over 1,300 miles, to bring visitors from all over Texas for one of Houston biggest annual events.
Many trail rides are family affairs, with multiple generations mounting up and heading out:
The Murphey family, for instance, said they travelled the Valley Lodge Trail Ride for more than a quarter-century, with Mike Murphey telling a Houston TV station about how the traditional riders stand out in a 21st-Century world:
“You know you’re in Texas when you drive down the freeway and you see 50 people riding horses and wagons,” Murphey said.
Three generations of Murpheys, including Murphey’s son and 4-year-old grandchild, said they joined trail boss Wheat McKinney and hundreds of other riders on the 70-mile trip from Brookshire to Houston’s Memorial Park, where the riders from various trails are scheduled to meet, camp out on Friday and ride in the Rodeo Parade on Saturday.
While the Valley Lodge Trail Ride is the shortest of the 11 rides, the Mission Trail Ride from San Antonio is the longest.
Other rides include the Texas Independence Trail Ride from Brazoria, the Northeast Trail Ride from near Beaumont, the Sam Houston Trail Ride from Montgomery, and the Prairie View Trail Ride from Hempstead.
See y’all there!