To see cowboy boots and hats in their natural element—the Texas that people talk about when they talk about Texas—you need to get outside of Dallas proper. Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo: This annual January event will continue so long as there are cattle walking the Earth and people willing to ride, raise, or eat them. In Fort Worth, that’s a pretty solid bet. Mesquite Championship Rodeo: New owners took over a couple of years ago and have made it into an affordable destination for family-friendly entertainment. Cowboy Church: Maybe you want something a little more hands on. Fine. There is Living for the Brand, in Athens. Or the Cowboy Church of Ellis County, in Waxahachie, and Rafter J Cowboy Church, near Terrell. At most of these places there is something called a “buck out,” an all-comers rodeo open to anyone, with a no-pressure devotion (it is church, after all) in the middle of it.
Illustration by Chip Wass
More info on Fort Worth Stock Show
Mesquite Championship Rodeo