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November 6, 2015 / philosophermouseofthehedge

No. Don’t have that cow.

Children's Museum art cow found. Wheeler construction site. (screenshot.ABC 13.com)

Hiding from what? An urban cattle rustler. (Children’s Museum Art Cow/screenshot.ABC 13.com)

Round up the posse. Missing moo.

Would have loved to hear that conversation late Tuesday night:

“It followed me home. Can I keep it?”

Adult in the house or at least the sober one, “Don’t care where you rounded or pried it up from, no. Take it back.”

” But it’s heavy and I’m tired.”

“Dude. It’s from the Children’s Museum. Stealing from little kids is pretty low. At least put it where someone will find it – not here!”

Moostery Story and pictures of the stolen, but recovered Border Bovine Art Cow here.

Cows certainly have changed.

Moonwalking Cow from Cow Parade. Once located in Terminal Terminal A Bush IAH/ Screenshot of image by Campbell, Hou.Chron.)

Who couldn’t love MoonWalking Cow. At one time pastured in Terminal A of Bush IAH airport. (Screenshot.Image: Campbell/Hou.Chron.)

Once it was “Outlaw meets outlaw” every weekend in October at the Prison Rodeo in Huntsville, Texas.

Enjoy what news reporting was like back in 1966:

.Vintage black and white newsreel featuring the Texas Prison Rodeo.  US National Archives and Records Administration. (The jokes on the prisoners’ banners were always fun)

My grandfather who died before I was born, moved his family off the farm into the town of Huntsville so his oldest boy could attend Sam Houston College. They ran a two-story wood frame boarding house which is still standing and still houses college students. While he worked as a prison guard, the younger boys helped by throwing papers, washing dishes, and trying to spot Bonnie and Clyde who stopped by the local cafe on the courthouse square for meals once in a while. While not liked or admired, the pair certainly had people terrified of their guns and reputation.

Each October, extra money was made selling parking spots in the front yard for the Prison Rodeo. People flocked from miles around for the event.

The Texas Prison Rodeo was the “Wildest Show Behind Bars”.

Not only was it real dirt in your face rodeo, you were inside the prison with prisoners! Dangerous convicts!

Big deal for kids. As I remember, it was thrilling.

Should the grounds have been preserved as historical?

First rodeo performance was in Oct 1931 with a wooden stadium on the old prison baseball field. In the 50’s and 60’s attendance could easily reach 100,000. Quite a money-maker for the prison system and gave the inmates a chance to earn some money, too. The traffic into town was always bumper to bumper. The last show in the “new” big brick and concrete building was in 1986.

The rodeo was actually created as recreation for inmates.

Now they only have team sports in softball, volleyball, and baseball. Inmates do still raise and train horses for law enforcement at one of the Huntsville units. And others foster and train dogs for service animals. Working with animals is considered a privilege. It’s a toss-up whether animal or inmate caretaker gets more out of the experience.

Read stories/pictures of actual rodeo prison inmates, the prison entertainers, as well as top name performers including Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson:

As the sun slowly sets in the west, missing moo.

So long for a sweetheart of a rodeo,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Vintage rodeo picture. 1949. Bull rider at Prison Rodeo, Huntsville , TX (Texas Tribune image)

1949. Now that’s bull. At this time, the bulls and horses all came from prison’s pasture stock.(Texas Tribune image)

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40 Comments

  1. easyweimaraner / Nov 6 2015 1:15 pm

    Oh I bet that was a thrilling event! And to see B&C “in the furs” is probably something what’s totally worth a story :o) I always refused to visit my grampy at his working place. I had the imagination they could forget me there or they decide that I have to stay forever …. silly kid :o)

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2015 2:42 pm

      Dad said he was delivering papers to the cafe’s back door when he asked why the owner was so nervous. The man was terrified and said Bonny and Clyde were having breakfast. Dad peeked in and saw them – and their car outside and ran to tell the sheriff as there was a huge reward. But the pair had gone by the time authorities arrive. Funny to think people in history were having bacon and eggs just like ordinary people.
      Good you don’t go to work, Easy – someone needs to keep an eye on the house and your mom and dad – they seem to fall off things and get into trouble. Someone has to keep an eye on them! thanks for herding a comment over this way

      Liked by 1 person

      • betterphotos4you / Nov 6 2015 9:56 pm

        Wow, This why I like to reblog, Great response , Sad “Realty” yet a good gafaw

        Liked by 1 person

  2. shoreacres / Nov 6 2015 1:22 pm

    Honest to goodness. It had to have taken some effort to remove that thing — and who would something like that? I suspect alcohol may have been involved — and perhaps a dare? There are times when truly bad ideas do seem good, that’s for sure. The dynamic probably explains why, during my high school years, a huge, baby-blue sign saying “JESUS SAVES!!!” in white letters showed up in our back yard one night.

    I don’t remember the removal, or anything else. But the sight of that sign when we opened the drapes in the morning is seared into my memory.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2015 2:51 pm

      Well, it was first spotted on the grass by the bridge over the bayou…looking towards UH. (picture snapped and sent to Children’s Museum Facebook page where they were asking for help by the public.) Then a second message said it had been moved but she spotted it in a culvert. CH 13 news arrived shortly and spotted it there from the road where it had first been seen….somehow the cow walked over the bridge, down the slope and collapsed exhausted into the culvert. Oh, OK. The Spanish speaking construction crew said they saw it standing there, carried it over, and put it there “to keep it safe”…they figured it fell off a truck and if anyone wanted it they would be back. Both cows are now inside the museum.(They were bought at Cow Parade auction by a kind pair of patrons and donated. Worth over $50,000.00 each…so good it was “safe” and not a bar-b-que grill.) A bit of repair work needed.
      OMG What an eye opener that sign must have been. Now that’s a story we need to hear.
      Front’s not far away – cool breezes coming Miss Dixie! Thanks for mooving this way today

      Like

  3. aFrankAngle / Nov 6 2015 1:25 pm

    Wow … now that’s a historical event of local flavor. Loved the video about the prison rodeo!!!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2015 2:56 pm

      Old news reels are the most fun. Stumbled across this one and remembered how Oct. was fun for more reasons than just Halloween. All the kids hoped their parents would get tickets for the very last show which was really wild and wooly. (People don’t say that anymore do they? HA HA). Traffic was bumper to bumper from Houston to Huntsville and from Dallas to Huntsville…and it seemed to crawl along. You always worried you wouldn’t get there in time. Going home, you didn’t care. No T-shirts or souvenirs, but happy just the same. Thanks for joining the comment posse.

      Like

  4. Kate Crimmins / Nov 6 2015 1:59 pm

    Poor cow. Hope he found his way home.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2015 3:00 pm

      Whew. The Children Museum cows are quite cherished around here. Once the museum got word the the TV/radio stations, Twitter, and on Facebook, that cow was run down amazingly fast. Both cows have left their pens by the front door and are now safely inside the museum. A bit of repair work will be done to the wandering one, but then they will firmly be put in an indoor pasture.
      Must have been someone from out of town who didn’t realize the entire city would be hot on their tails? Thanks for having a cow comment

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sportsattitudes / Nov 6 2015 2:44 pm

    There’s a knock at the door…

    “Who’s there?”

    “Interrupting Cow.”

    “Interrupting C…”

    “MOO!”

    (From a moooving episode of “Modern Family”)

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2015 3:03 pm

      A real fence jumper! That exactly what this post needed – a cow knock-knock joke. Perfect addition to the comment herd, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. SingingTuna / Nov 6 2015 3:29 pm

    Bonny and Clyde? Missing cows? Prison rodeos? Exciting! Wow!!! WOW!!!
    Such a pretty cow, made me think of HitchBot. People! ::sigh::
    Hooray for the return. Glad that the injuries are minor.
    🙂

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2015 4:48 pm

      The Cow Parade cows are sort of in the same mode as Hitchbot. Quite a big time in these pastures this week. Glad you had time to mosey along!

      Like

  7. Carrie Rubin / Nov 6 2015 4:07 pm

    Stealing from a children’s museum is indeed pretty low. Thinking about those museums takes me back. I have such fond memories of taking my kids there when they were young. Easy to spend the whole day in them.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2015 4:54 pm

      Considering the museum’s door/cow pen is on a cut through road between Univ. of Houston, and many restaurants and bars, maybe…In any case, it had to be someone from out of town. Everyone here knows exactly where those cows belong. Once the word got out on TV, radio, Twitter,and Facebook, cow spotting were reported quickly. This Children’s museum has really grown – we used to go to the original donated location in an old print works- it was a joy even with limited resources when it first opened, but now – it should even be on tourists’ plans. I love the outdoor waterworks. Children’s Museums show how easy it is to get kids interested in science and everything else. Thanks for playing along

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Cecilia Mary Gunther / Nov 6 2015 6:53 pm

    Great story. So, the inmates rode the horses in their own rodeo! ? Fantastic – why don’t they do that now? Or maybe someone might hurt themselves and sue? And Bonnnie and Clyde – were they a handsome pair? The romance of it you see. c

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 6 2015 7:24 pm

      The rodeo started out as a way to pass time. They used the stock/horses the prison system raised at the time.(The the prison system was pretty self sufficient with big farms for produce, and livestock in barns and pastures. But then came the 60’s and advocates said having inmates work the farms/ranches was “cruel and inhumane punishment” and forced labor. So now prisoners sit in concrete boxes with TVs and gyms. Big improvement.Bound to be good if you can’t see the sky or feel the sun or wind. Costs the taxpayers, too). About that time the prison system got some people in management from out of state who didn’t see any value in the prisoners being in a rodeo. Thought it was demeaning rather than a chance to show skill, ability, wit, and courage – and get applause. (Each inmate had to apply and demonstrate skills before being allowed in the rodeo. Musical groups also got to perform.) And then there’s the animal rights groups who hate rodeos. Sigh. Small groups dictating what everyone can do.So much lost.
      Dad said they didn’t look anything like Hollywood- except the tommy guns were just as big and scary. (Time softens the image with a foggy lens and dreaming eyes?) Had another relative witness the shooting of Sam Bass who was a big bad notorious TX outlaw…she as a little girl scooted up on a brick wall to see what all the noise was about in the alley – the sheriff and men in the posse were appalled and worried she had seen the shooting. Not all that long ago? Thanks for sharing a few tales

      Like

      • dogear6 / Nov 7 2015 12:30 am

        Thanks for the background and the story! I’d not heard of this before.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. The Hook / Nov 6 2015 11:04 pm

    “CSI: Farm Patrol”?

    Like

  10. marthaschaefer / Nov 7 2015 12:06 am

    MOOving tribute to the prison rodeo, Phil. No bull about it!

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 7 2015 3:03 pm

      Life was so different then – a lot less worry about being safe and not getting hurt for one thing. Thanks for riding along

      Liked by 1 person

  11. D. Wallace Peach / Nov 7 2015 4:44 pm

    I love this local history stuff. Prison rodeos with 100,000 spectators is pretty wild west. And Bonnie and Clyde in town? Those are stories to tell over and over again.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 7 2015 4:54 pm

      More of us are living a Hollywood story than realize it? That cafe was still there for the longest time – we ate there as kids. The college is a big university now. I should go check on the courthouse square and that cafe.
      Nothing like a good sit down with an old old storyteller, right? Thanks for saddling up to ride along

      Liked by 1 person

      • D. Wallace Peach / Nov 7 2015 5:00 pm

        Paul Newman helped me change a flat time on my car. That’s my claim to fame 🙂 Yes, nothing like a great storyteller; it’s an art form.

        Like

  12. Littlesundog / Nov 7 2015 6:58 pm

    McAlester, OK had a prison rodeo for more than 70 years, but closed the event down in 2010. The stadium had structural safety issues, but I heard recently they are trying to raise funds to bring it back. Sheesh! 50K for that wayward cow? Personally, I think it fell over sick – seeing how it’s got a puky pepto bismal coloring about it. Gagola.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 7 2015 8:33 pm

      Do hope they manage to pull the rodeo back together. That’s encouraging.It’s an art form with athletic events all its’ own. Not sure outsiders/those who haven’t grown up around ranches/farms can understand.
      The Cow Parade was few years ago with artist painting the same blank cow canvas. (except space cow) Then they were auctioned off for charity and most cows donated to some place or the other. Where else would a colorful cow want to go but the children’s museum?…well, maybe on top of an art car! Now that would be mooooving. Thanks for chewing the cud here

      Like

  13. angelswhisper2011 / Nov 7 2015 8:17 pm

    Moo for the coo..I guess… Thank you for still coming by at our place, Philmouse, we miss reading your blog, but we are still not on the smoothy track of blogging again. There was to much hard work to do again, this week and we looking forward to more relaxing time soon. In the meantime we have to leave you some extra Pawkisses and tell you, that we are happy you haven’t forget about us yet 🙂 ❤

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 7 2015 8:26 pm

      It’s really busy time of year, so don’t worry your those cute little ears.I’ve been trying to catch up today as the weather is very bad and the dogs and RC cat are all snoozing. So the house is quiet since we cannot paint or anything. Our garden is becoming all swampy and muddy with many of the plants preparing for winter. The monarch butterflies have been by on their way to Mexico, so the lantana bush and flowers can now close up shop for the season. Hope you have a nice sunny spot to curl up in and nap! (Loved your wink!). Thanks for herding a comment this way!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. jannatwrites / Nov 8 2015 12:25 am

    Cool history about the prison rodeo. It’s good that working with animals gives them something productive to do while also benefiting the animals.

    Like

  15. The Coastal Crone / Nov 8 2015 7:20 pm

    Oh, I hadn’t thought about the prison rodeos in years – always a big deal. I remember my father talking about it but he never got to go. I enjoyed your post very much and thanks for the postcard. I remember seeing the Cow Parade but did not know one had been stolen from the wonderful Children’s Museum. We had dolphins here in Corpus Christi one year and a couple are still on view.

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 8 2015 9:52 pm

      They rounded up the wandering art cow pretty quickly once word got out.Both of the Children’s Museum cows have been relocated indoors now.
      We have painted pelicans all around Clear Lake. I think city/regional themed outdoor art is fun. (So far none of those have flown off – many were refurbished last year. Most were taken inside during the hurricane. You can ask just so much of big birds.) Thanks for joining this rodeo.

      Like

  16. EllaDee / Nov 9 2015 3:53 am

    Out of all the art installations Sydney has had I think the Art Cows have been the one I enjoyed the most…. you can take the girl out of the country but… !
    I’m pleased the missing Moo was recovered, and I could listen to your stories forever 🙂

    Like

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 9 2015 2:33 pm

      Those Art Cows were such a great idea – really cheer up the landscape. I’m glad so many people are keeping the paint refreshed on them. There are 2 miniature copy-cows here. Those little ones were what was offered to the public – not the real life sized ones….Someone herd the wrong message. Thanks for joining the herd in these pastures

      Like

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