Big Bend Ranch Rodeo: Ridin’, Ropin’ and Wranglin’ in West Texas

rodeos in texasHave you ever had an affinity for something, without really knowing why?

My wife was born in the heartlands, but she has always had such a strong connection to the ocean that people just assume that she grew up on the coast.  For me, that affinity is horses. I don’t know why… I have a friend who says it's because I must have been a cowboy in a past life. If that's so, I definitely didn't bring any of my cowboy skills with me into this life!  Yes, I can ride, but I'm definitely not a "cowboy" rider, if you will. No problem, because here in Texas, there are plenty of opportunities for me to do the next best thing: watch people who are!

For this cowboy-wannabe, that means heading out to the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo in Alpine, TX.  It takes place on August 10-11, and this one’s the real deal. You’ll see real working cowboys showing off their skills at bronco riding, team branding and wild cow milking, where teams have to rope a cow and milk her in less than 2 minutes. Now, this may not be a skill your everyday cowboy needs, but it’s a blast…an event not to be missed!  For more information, visit the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo website.
I usually extend my stay beyond just the weekend, because there are a lot of other things to do in the area. The city of Alpine is a lively and friendly community, surrounded by breathtaking beauty like nowhere else in the Lone Star state.  With quaint shops, great restaurants, golfing, mountain climbing, museums, summer theater productions under a roof of stars, and its own minor-league baseball stadium (home of the Alpine Cowboys team), Alpine is a great place for a relaxing West Texas getaway.  
Alpine is also the perfect starting point for day trips to other nearby destinations.  I especially love Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park.  Here you’ll find hiking, camping, river running, mountain bicycling, jeep touring, wildlife, abundant sightseeing, and yes… Horseback riding!  Now it’s my turn to play cowboy!
One thing I want y'all to realize before you make your plans is that the closest airport is 3 1/2 hrs away, the closest major city 4 hrs. So for most of you, this isn’t an quick day trip; it’s a journey.  But a journey well worth taking, if you ask me.


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