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March 7, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

You Betcha Your Mutton

Costumed alpaca at Houston Rodeo ( Screenshot)

“I feel pretty. Oh, so pretty.” Costumed alpaca at Houston Rodeo (

Some attendees are not sheepish about why they came: it’s all about the outfits…or something to get your heart racing…or simply the shear excitement.

Oh, OK, but the Wild West never looked like this.

Mutton bustin' contestant girl. Houston Rodeo 2022 (Screenshot)

Whoo. Hope the landing is a s soft as this fleece. Mutton bustin’ contestant who practiced up riding her dad around the living room. (Houston Rodeo 2022)

Don’t worry.

They wash and fluff each lamb before its’ run…and they do run – right to their flock a short distance ahead.

Also waiting ahead is an army of volunteers who pretty much whisk each rider up into the air no matter how long the ride.

Watch couple of the contestants shown here and here.

Two kids in cowboy hats watching rodeo parade. (Screenshot. ABC13)

Two kids in cowboy hats watching rodeo parade. Dreams in the making. (Screenshot.ABC13)


Girl in pink hat riding side saddle. Houston rodeo parade/ABC13 screenshot)

Pretty in pink! I love this little escaramuza confidently riding sidesaddle in her traditional sweeping skirt and sombrero. Gloves? It was cold! (Houston rodeo/ABC13)

Here’s a great short article on Charreadas (Mexican rodeos) traditions for women and little girls. Those sweeping skirts and the riders’ swift maneuvers has historical roots in their role during the Mexican Revolution.

“San Antonio team keeps tradition of Mexican rodeo alive” 

The young boys are not left out either! Absolutely thrilled to see these twirling ropes with such skill. Always wanted to do those rope tricks, but all I got was tripped up and rope pokes. (You can watch them if you click the parade link below. Jump to about 1:06:44 -)

Boy with rope trick rope in traditional dress and sombrero (Houstonrodeo screenshot)

Trick roper in traditional Charro/Vaquero dress. (Houston rodeo)

Rodeo parade Flag bearer on horseback with rope twirlers behind (Screenshot Houston rodeo 2022)

Rodeo parade flag bearer on horseback(Screenshot.View some amazing horses around 1:02:00 or 1:07:00 in the parade link below.)

Part of the deal with the parade and rodeo is keeping Western heritage and local traditions alive…and we have a whole bunch of different heritages to share.

Texas has always been sort of mutt county – which is great: lots of festivals, different types of food, and stories. A little bit of everything mixed in. As everyone always says, “Mutts are always the best”

Rodeo time is like St. Patrick’s Day: everyone is a cowboy or cowgirl.

Hawaii 's rodeo Queen in parade (Screenshot ABC/Houston

Hawaii ‘s Rodeo Queen in parade (ABC13./Houston

Hawaiian cowboys or “paniolo” have been riding and ropin’ with Rodeo’s best since the early 1900s.

The Parker Ranch, a working ranch since 1847, has always been a blend of the American Wild West and Hawaiian traditions and philosophy.

  • Read more about the history of the Parker Ranch and the story of a 19 year old man who jumped ship and became part of the royal family here
  • Ranching there all started in 1793 with five cows brought to the islands as a gift to King Kamehameha I …and left as protected pets to roam at will…..until shortly, serious cows gone wild!!!
  • In 1833, Mexican vaqueros hired from California arrived to help Hawaiians get a rope around cow management. The Espanol speaking vaqueros contributed greatly to the “paniolo” culture. Of course that includes some singing cowboys, no doubt, as the vaqueros also brought along the guitar to the islands (source here)
  • There or here, cowgirls are at home at the rodeo. So “Howdy, y’all.” (Oh, they have mutton bustin’ events at Hawaiian rodeos, too. One of the mutton contestants recently here was from Hawaii.)
Hawaiian rodeo princesses on horseback (Screen shot Rodeo Houston/ABC13)

Eight Hawaiian rodeo princesses on horseback each dressed in different colors to represent one of the eight Hawaiian islands. Each rider and horse is wearing leis from specific flowers of one particular island. The flowers were carefully packed and transported with the leis crafted once they arrive in Houston. (Rodeo Houston/ABC13)

Taipei, Taiwan and Shenzhen, China are two of Houston’s sister cities

Rodeo float from Taiwan (Rodeo Houston/ABC screenshot)

This rodeo wagon had several diplomats on it. One guy from Taiwan was so thrilled to be in the parade and wearing a cowboy hat he was grinning from to ear and just beside himself with happiness. Who wouldn’t be? A great day and in a rodeo parade!(Rodeo Houston/ABC13)


St Thomas's band with bagpipes, drums and kids in kilts (Rodeo Houston/ABC13 screenshot)

Skirting the issue of just how diverse this area is. Took tough hardy people to settle this area – and Scotland offered a few. St Thomas’ high school band with bagpipes, drums, and kids in kilts…I always worry about the mosquito bites on those knees. Toughness and dedication, still demonstrated. (Rodeo Houston/ABC13)


A&M calvary corps (Screenshot rodeohouston/ABC13)

The cavalry really is coming! A&M calvary corps. Being in that group takes a whole lot of dedication. Calvary training was a part of the military curriculum until the 1930’s. Read more about the Parsons Mounted Cavalry Corps here. (rodeohouston/ABC13)


A&M cadets with cannon in Rodeo Parade (Screenshot rodeohouston/ABC13)

A&M cadets with their cannon in Rodeo Parade (rodeohouston/ABC13)

What’s a parade without a cannon? It’s just so Texas.

    After gaining their independence from Spain, Mexico had encouraged the local towns to set up militias to fight Indian raids, so Gonzales’ (just outside San Antonio) militia was given a cannon by Mexican officials.
    When Mexican General Santa Anna ordered that all militias be disarmed, the army came to take back the cannon. But the cannon was hidden away as the settlers said they really needed the cannon to defend against the fierce native tribes that traveled back and forth between Mexico and Canada – frequently burning homesteads, running off with livestock, and kidnapping small children and women.

(Side note: Many of the Native Americans lived peacefully among the settlers like the tribal village next door to our family’s homestead. But both the neighbors feared and fought the fierce tribes who raided everyone. These raiders were one reason Mexico had trouble getting people to settle in the what is now Texas. Oh, my homesteading relatives were Mexican citizens, spoke Spanish, were Catholic, and paid money to the Mexican government for the land, so don’t start…)

    The local volunteer militia fought off the troops. Then the bulk of the Mexican troops in Texas moved to San Antonio de Bexar in response. Gonzales is often called the beginning of Texas Independence.

“On October 2, 1835, Texans led by John H. Moore resisted Mexican dragoons sent to retrieve the town cannon. Challenging the Mexicans to “come and take it,” the Texans rallied around the gun and fought the Battle of Gonzales, the first skirmish of the Texas Revolution…” (more here from Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas online)

Prairie View Trail riders on Houston Rodeo 2022 parade. (Screenshot rodeohouston)

Prairie View Trail riders in Houston Rodeo 2022 parade. One of the oldest trail rides, started in 1957, now has some families of 3 generation riding along. Video about them here. Article about this historical group of Black Cowboys and Cowgirls here in Texas Monthly.

You can watch the entire parade here.

Get a glimpse of the most beautiful horses – groups riding not only quarter horses or using draft horses, but prancing horses from Andalusia and Portugal – breeds that were foundation stock for the Western mustangs. (Gotta love those flowing manes and that elegant horse heritage bling. Enough to make a Palomino gold turn green.)

Once, you could show up the night before the parade at the trail rides’ camp grounds and try and talk your way onto a wagon. If you managed to do that, you not only got to ride in the parade (without enduring the hardships and always miserable weather of the actual trail ride),but you also got into the rodeo for free. At that time, the parade was routed right into the rodeo grounds, circled and spiraled all around the arena to open the first performance.

A moocho mucho fun time? You betcha.

And the rodeo continues – until March 20th. Tejano entertainment tonight. Performers from all genre scheduled. That should be music to your ears. Includes Marshmellow‘s electronic music? Well, if that alone isn’t enough to git the cows to dance with you until they head home…

Big time fun requires a big lot bunch of time. (Oh, let’s avoid that word “lot” out of respect for cows. Might spook the herd.)

Time to saddle up and mosey on.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Remember the Alamo. And remember Ukraine.

Lost causes may have an impact far beyond what was ever expected.


  1. easyweimaraner / Mar 7 2022 6:53 am

    I would love to see it… it has something so special. our heart is with the people of ukraine… please lord bring peace to our world…

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 7 2022 7:27 am

      We are all searching for some “normalcy” and understanding.
      “Governments” seem to be determined to do all us peasants in one way or another.
      Gimme some tough fleece to hold onto, please.
      Thanks for riding along

      Liked by 1 person

  2. disperser / Mar 7 2022 9:23 am

    Lots of history there, some I knew, and some I didn’t.

    Looks like a fun time for all involved . . . perhaps not the people having to clean the horse droppings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 14 2022 2:02 pm

      Maybe it’s like the ones that drive the ice rink Zamboni? There were 3 street sweepers waiting across the lanes waiting…and they had some “spot cleaners” all along the route. Can’t have the marching bands stomping and dancing in slop.
      Glad you peeked at the tidbit history. Stories told are much more interesting than textbooks…school have that and much all wrong…but it is a great deal of work to teach like that. The payoff is that narrative information usually goes in and is retained. But next time I run the world…haha
      (Oh, we are distantly related to that ranch family. Still hope to get there. All sorts of stories there. Taking it day by day here – which is the recommended in any case for just about anyone. So far so good at this point…jsut time consuming and wasn’t in the plan.)
      Thanks for jumping ship to check in here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean / Mar 7 2022 9:26 am

    This is wonderful. I like the idea of riding a sheep. I love the costumed alpaca. I had a cowgirl hat as a girl and loved it. And as for the Parker ranch, I’ve been there. It was a charming historical site that seemed lost in time– and that was 20 years ago. Your festival looks like so much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 14 2022 1:55 pm

      The best part about rodeo time – especially this year – is that there’s something positive and interesting to have conversations about. Even if we are going to watch at a distance this year, everyone involved seems energized and happy again.
      We had planned to visit that Parker Ranch eventually (stupid covid and health issues haha). My husband’s family are related/cousins and we’ve had invitation, but seeing old family pictures is a close as we’ve gotten. It does look like a place lost in time in those…wistfully appreciated. And wondering how did they manage all those sweeping skirts and fresh white lace in that climate?
      Last weekend was the official St. Patrick’s day parade…many of the same people enjoying it. Humans do need to party to be happy and get along, Maybe those remind us we are all more similar than different.
      (Darn your deck progress – fingers crossed it will happen …funny thing we noticed a neatly stacked pile of new lumber with a sign on it “For Sale” outside a small shop/business that just finished some construction – I think they are right that someone just needs a small pallet of wood to make something. We are all figuring out how to adjust?)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. pIEdTyPe / Mar 7 2022 9:40 am

    Such diversity! So much history. I love it. Oklahoma wasn’t much different. But Hawaiian rodeos? I’d have never guessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Mar 14 2022 2:11 pm

      Oklahoma has its’ own stories – fascinating history, too. I still have the image of settlers encouraging their horses to run faster as setters raced to claim spot. It would seem like hitting gold to so many who had so little hope of ever owning anything…from some film I saw a a child. (and those who sneaked in early to try and leave markers before hand) OK also had some surprises for those settlers, too. But you have to admit they had grit to risk all. A struggle for all groups who had to adjust to a “different and ever changing world”.
      I knew about the ranches in Hawaii, but not the rodeos – or all the women participating. Toughness has beauty or does beauty require toughness? Maybe I’ll get to Cheyenne or Calgary rodeo someday – heading to the islands is seeming less and less possible
      Thanks for saddling up a comment to leave


  5. Anne Mehrling / Mar 7 2022 12:34 pm

    I always enjoy your puns. I didn’t realize how big an impact a rodeo could make, because Tennessee didn’t have anything on this scale.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. shoreacres / Mar 7 2022 6:57 pm

    Did you read the story about the girl mutton-buster who practiced by riding her mother? True story! And she won some prize or other. I love the story of the mother as much as that of the girl! I’m not going this year, but I do believe I’m going to have to post something rodeo related before it’s all over. I wonder if we could get some new events on the schedule: Politician roping? Oil barrel racing? A lobbyist scramble? There are possibilities here!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The Coastal Crone / Mar 8 2022 1:50 pm

    Yes, it is rodeo time everywhere. Love the mutton riding!


  8. Kate Crimmins / Mar 8 2022 2:01 pm

    Love the costumes. There is some cowboy event here with horse folks who ride western but nothing like this. Yes, let us remember Ukraine.


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