Eight seconds might seem like a mere blip on your radar any given day, but for a cowboy atop a bucking bronco, it’s practically an eternity. And watching is exhilarating. That’s why rodeo competitions are so popular in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, filled as they are with energy, excitement, and a rush of adrenaline for participants and spectators alike. It’s one of the best places on earth to get in a cowboy/cowgirl state of mind and experience Texas in a big, big way.
Regardless of where you find yourself in the metropolitan area, professional rodeos have a few things in common. Competitions are broken down into two event types, roughstock and timed. Roughtstock includes bareback, saddle bronc, and bull riding, while timed events consist of barrel racing, steer roping, steer wrestling, team roping, and tie-down roping, each with its own set of skills and danger.
Year-round events take place at Mesquite Arena and Cowtown Coliseum, home to the Mesquite Rodeo and Stockyard Championship Rodeo, respectively. The Mesquite Pro Rodeo Series for 2014 takes place every Friday and Saturday night between 30th May and 23rd August. The Stockyard Championship Rodeo takes place every Friday and Saturday night year-round.
First impressions may be that rodeos aren’t that diverse, but several niche competitions prove otherwise. Among those competing over the course of the year are the Hip Hop Cowboys, the Cowboys of Color, the Best of Mexico Celebración and the Texas Gay Rodeo Association. And women compete in ever-increasing numbers across competitions.
For a taste of the rodeo experience without the actual rodeo, check out Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show in the Cowtown Coliseum during summer months. There’ll you’ll flash back to the wild west for an hour of trick roping, riding, and shooting, a Native American ceremonial dance, and traditional cowboy songs. Billy Bob’s Texas also features professional bull riding performances every Friday and Saturday night, all year long.
Of course, nothing’s stopping you from training toward your own rodeo victory. And there’s no better way to get in tip-top condition than jumping in the saddle of a mechanical bull. At Cowboys Red River, Gilley’s, and The Trophy Room in Dallas, as well as Cowboys Dancehall in Arlington, you can really put your strength and balance to the test. Or simply jump on the stuffed bull at Billy Bob’s Texas and pose for a photo that’s so realistic, your friends will never know the difference.
For a more authentic experience, get up-close-and-personal at Wildcatter Ranch, a 90-minute drive to the northwest, where you can spend the night, feed longhorns, and ride horses before a much-deserved (and very unrodeo) visit to the spa.
But no matter the activity, you’ll want to look the part. Both Pinto Ranch at NorthPark Center and Wild Bill’s Western Store in Dallas are excellent places to find cowboy boots, hats, a variety of jewellery and other western-themed accessories.
By the end of your rodeo experience, you’ll be saying, “Yee Haw, Y’All!” before you know it.
Booking a trip to Dallas? Our codeshare arrangement with Delta makes it simple for you to travel all over North America.
Have you visited a Texas rodeo? Did you put your skills to the test on a mechanical bull? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Steven Lindsey
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About the author: StevenSteven Lindsey
Steven Lindsey is a Dallas editor, freelance writer and obsessed lover of travel, food and cocktails. Steven is editor of the Zagat blog in Dallas and Contributing Editor of He Said Magazine's USA and Dallas editions. Additionally, he regularly contributes to The Dallas Morning News special sections.