A September 2004 trip
to Lubbock by hersplash
Quote: Sure, Lubbock has Buddy Holly and Texas Tech. But did you know they also hold a Cowboy Symposium and Celebration, claiming it's the largest array of western items in one place?
The gathering includes all kinds of cowboys including Cowboy Musicians, Cowboy Poets, and Cowboy Storytellers. They perform at the Lubbock Civic Center, and there is constant entertainment wherever you are. Most of these cowboys are older, the festival drawing a crowd of older folks all dolled up with their neatly pressed western wear. Inside the Civic Center are booths filled with exhibitors including artists and authors. You can find lots of western artwork, jewelry, clothing, home décor and furniture, and, of course, cowboy boots. The exhibitors continue outside where you can find equipment for your horse, including saddles, leather goods, bits, spurs, and rope. The kids could make their own rope with the help of one of the vendors. The organizers say, "It is the largest array of western items of all kinds to be found anywhere in one place."
Throughout the day they have many special events. They had a West Texas Native American Association Mini-Powwow and a Parade of the Horse. Everyone was excited about the National Championship Chuckwagon Cook-off, including myself. Unfortunately, they were sold out that day and I was too late. (Buy them Friday for the Saturday event.) There were dozens of ranches participating in this event. It was fun to see how they all operate without the modern conveniences. I settled for the BBQ Brisket meal with beans and iced tea.
Texan Craig Cameron puts on a Horse Training Seminar and Demonstration. He is like a "horse whisperer" and believes that true horsemanship is about communicating. He starts out with an unknown horse that has never been saddled or ridden — essentially it needs to be "broken." For as long as it takes (one was 45 minutes, one was about 80 minutes), he works with this wild horse and takes the fear out of him. He uses certain techniques to eventually calm the horse, gets the horse to trust him, and allows him to saddle and ride the horse. The techniques are repeated in all three of his demonstrations, so even a novice might have some clue as to where to start. It is quite extraordinary to watch this transformation, especially since it was done in such a kind, humane way with the horse’s best interests in mind.
The event is great for the whole family. A one-day ticket is $5 for adults and $2.50 for kids. Meals are $5 to $7, with the Chuckwagon being $10. There are additional costs for the evening musical, poetry and storytelling performances, and the rodeo. Check out www.cowboy.com for event dates.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 30, 2004
Cowboy Symposium and Celebration
Lubbock Civic Center
The competition includes teams of cowboys from working ranches in Texas and nearby states. These are not professional rodeo participants. They are the guys you see out on the ranches working with cattle or other livestock. There were almost 50 different teams competing, and they were in groups of 16 teams per day. For about five hours, they competed in timed events that included Mugging, Doctoring, Team Sorting, Wild Cow Milking, and Calf Branding. It was fun to see these guys work, and share in the disappointment when they couldn’t rope anything and the excitement when they did.
This event is held in an equestrian arena, which is covered but has many large open entrances where the dust and dirt fly in regularly. The arena itself is dirt, mixed in with lots of manure. From a rather preppy girl from Boston, I’d like to spare you from some pain. Wear blue jeans and boots if you have them! No fancy dresses, no high-heeled shoes. I wore light khaki pants that got filthy before I got in the door. I looked foolish having to sit on the program because the bleachers were covered in dirt and I’d have a nice ring on my behind. Besides, without the jeans you don’t look like a cowboy or cowgirl, and they will all know you’re just a city slicker.
Top Hand Ranch Rodeo
Texas Tech Equestrian Center