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by Carol Eguia

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time and phone number.

Itís strange how the rodeo comes to town with bells and whistles, and trail rides stretching to the horizon, that brighten the eyes of FFA and 4H club members. It also makes all of the cowboy and cowgirls wannabes grab their boots and 10-gallon hats. When they leave, the horses, mules and wagons are loaded up for a ride home in trucks and horse trailers, and there seems to be no schedule, no parade, no bells or whistles. Some of the FFAers and 4Híers dreams have been realized; some are disappointed but plan for next year.

When I was running my traps last month, I came smack, head-on (whoa!) into not one but two trail rides coming down Hwy. 90A with several hundred cars stacked up behind them. I should not have been surprised because I had seen the vangard earlier in the week at the local laundromat washing washers full of blue jeans and saddle blankets.

There have sure been some changes in trail rides since Iíve been watching them and riding in the final parade through downtown Houston. The riders I saw were all decked out in bright yellow rain slickers and the horses and wagons looked wet. Plus it was still raining off and on. Looked like real good candidates for some of that sheet plastic and duct tape everyoneís been buying lately.

Some of those early wagons didnít have any plastic on them. When it rained they got wet, real wet, and if you have ever tried to saddle a wet horse, you know about wet.

On one of those early trail rides, one of the wagons lost a mule, I mean that it died, right on the trail. Since you have to clean up your campsite, they loaded that dead mule into one of those wagons and carried on as if it happened every day. Business as usual on the trail.

In January, I saw a picture of my niece Sarah petting a horse on the nose. She had on a life jacket. Since I knew that my brother now has horses instead of cows on his place I gathered that Sarah had been rowing a boat in the lake behind her and stopped on the way to the house to pet the horse.

I asked my brother, jokingly, if Sarah wore a life jacket when she rode horses. His quick reply was that, "She doesnít have a helmet." That blew me away.

Can you imagine Roy Rogers leading a posse across the screen with helmets on? Looking like refugees from Motorcross? or Dirt Bike Devils? All the romance and glamour of the "Ten-Gallon Hat," trademark of cowboys since the beginning, down the tube? Gross!

Some things must be kept sacred or the next time I run into those Hwy. 90 trail rides, the riders will be sporting yellow helmets to match their yellow rain slickers.


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   Last Update:  September 17, 2003