In small groups, a total of some 3,000 trail riders came via 13 different trail rides across Texas. Some came from Mexico. Many had spent days or weeks on the trails. All riders had kept the nation’s fourth largest city as their destination.
And Friday was the day for all the different trail riders to finally meet up and camp overnight in Memorial Park - in preparation for Saturday’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Downtown Rodeo Parade.
Many commuters found traffic stopped as one after another, humble processions of wagon trains, cowboys and cowgirls arrived in Houston. They shared the congested roads as they found their way to Memorial Park.
The interruption of an otherwise normal Friday commute presented an odd juxtaposition of the present with the past: Houston’s intense, fast-paced, cosmopolitan character contrasted against horses, carriages, and old-fashioned western spirit.
Cowboys tipped their hats to motorists, and children waved from the horse-drawn wagons as they persevered alongside traffic.
Police escorts expertly managed the traffic on the front and back ends of the trail riders. Many commuters who were stuck found delight in the colorful procession; in fact for many, the interruption served as a poignant reminder that Houston’s present day spirit is indeed rooted in a time-honored tradition of the Old West.
You can read more about the trail riders and see photos here.
For more information on the history of the trail riders or to see a list of this year's trail ride winners, click here.