Have 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.