This might surprise a few folks — what’s life without a surprise or two? – but I’m a fan of all genres of music, including country (sue me).
The idea of listening to much of the hip hop being pumped into the air today doesn’t appeal to me, and rock hasn’t been the same since Axl Rose went all Axl Rose twenty-something years ago. So by default, I’m forced to adapt, and adapt I have over the course of the last few years or so.
So, last week, I hopped on a plane and headed to Houston, TX in order to do two things: the first was to see what the Houston Rodeo was all about, and the second was to see if this Chris Stapleton guy is all that and a bag of chips.
I’m going to be 100% honest: there’s nothing about me that says cowboy, rodeo, country music, Texas, or brisket. NOTHING. Well, maybe I’m fibbing a bit. There’s a part of me that says brisket beats tri-tip, only because these folks in Texas have that dialed in like no other. I mean, the way the flavor jumps off… (I’m doing it again, I’m getting pulled into this crazy meat battle). Moving on.
Before, my idea of what a rodeo was all about came from the Clovis Rodeo, and not really in a good way. I’ve actually never been to the Clovis Rodeo only due to the fact I’ve always heard it really isn’t a place for — how did the guy in Old Town Clovis put it to me that one time? “Colored folks shouldn’t be coming out to stuff like this, it isn’t for your kind.” Yeeeeeeeeeeah. As you can guess, I’m not usually running to any rodeos.
But there seems to be something different about Houston, something I just can’t quite place my finger on exactly. If you aren’t familiar, the Houston Rodeo is a huge event — basically, one of the biggest livestock and entertainment exhibitions ever. The invite to attend the rodeo was extended to me by a friend, and the artists that were laid out for me to choose from were vast. But, the only one I wanted to see was Chris Stapleton.
As we pulled up to NRG Stadium and I began to see all of the hats, jeans, rhinestone cowboys and cowgirls, I thought I was going to be in over my head a bit and stick out like a black jelly bean in a Tic Tac container. The truth is, no one even paid me any mind as I strolled through the parking lot and into the arena. There was more “color” in the building and it made me feel as if Crayola Crayons were running one last test on mankind.
I’ve seen a lot of neat things in my life, but this rodeo has to be one of the highlights of my forty years of existence! I mean, I didn’t think things could get better event after event, but here I was trying to decide if the mutton races, barrel races, wagon races, team roping, FFA calf chase, or bull riding was the best — seriously, this rodeo had everything.
By the time the music started, I was already thinking to myself, “Self, you made the right decision by coming out here and stepping out of your comfort zone,” and then the lights went down and this brutha Chris Stapleton and his band rolled up to the stage in black SUVs.
I’m not going to ruin the show for anyone scheduled to see him in Fresno. However, I will say that Chris Stapleton left me feeling like there are still good people in this world. Perhaps it was the way he looked at his wife, or perhaps it was the way she looked at him. Either way, they’ve traveled a long way to be where they are today.
The idea of a rodeo isn’t something I would have come up with on my own but there’s something special about Houston, TX, and something special about watching the stars come out to shine far from home.