Published on 4/21/2022 11:43:21 AM
By Alice Liang '24
From the sea of cowboy hats to the sweet aroma of funnel cake, Texas from all corners of the state are familiar with the sights and smells of the annual rodeo. However, the experience provides a unique insight into the agriculture industry and Western heritage for first-time attendees.
This was the case for a group of incoming students who fully embraced Texas culture with a trip to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on Saturday, March 5, 2022.
“I bought a cowboy hat as soon as I set foot into the rodeo,” TAMUQ exchange student Fatma A. Y. AlSayed said. “It was all Texas, cowboy and country themed, and I enjoyed [that] so much.”
Exchange students began their experience with lunch in the International Hospitality Suite and received a VIP behind the scenes tour of featured livestock animals. The group then walked over to NRG stadium for the rodeo portion which featured popular competitions such as steer wrestling, bull riding, and barrel racing for spectators to watch.
“I never knew you could be a professional in bucking until that day,” Hong Kong University of Science and Technology exchange student Marcus Chan said.
And it proved to be entertaining for the rodeo rookies.
“I got to observe calf roping and mutton busting for the first time, and both were so amusing to watch,” AlSayed said.
Concluding the evening was a concert featuring popular country singer and songwriter Jon Pardi. For some international students, it was their first time hearing live country music.
“The set and stage lighting were awesome. That was the moment I started listening to country music,” Chan said.
After the concert, students were given free time to enjoy the Carnival and other attractions at NRG Park. Whether it was playing a game of ring toss or riding the Ferris wheel with friends, the rodeo offered activities for everyone that night.
“The lines were long, but it was the ultimate Texas experience,” Chan said.
Getting a taste of traditional carnival cuisine was also a must.
“I got to try some Texan food and snacks and played carnival games with my friends,” AlSayed said. “Overall, this was one of the best experiences for me so far in USA, and it felt so good to see everyone there."