Round ‘em up. Move ‘em out.
Rodeo Austin’s big show returns March 11-25 to the Travis County Expo Center.
There was a time when the rodeo was as central to Austin’s social life as, say, South by Southwest or the Austin City Limits Music Festival are today. Only the University of Texas Longhorns games — and perhaps, for a while, Austin Aqua Festival — outranked this annual Western fandango in broad-based popularity.
Rodeo Austin CEO Rob Golding remembers those times. He’s vowed to bring them back with an epic vision for that huge chunk of shared land in eastern Travis County.
“There are pieces of Austin history that fall into the realm of the iconic,” Golding recently told us. “I believe that Rodeo Austin is one of those things. But it lost its way. It became less iconic and less relevant over the past couple of decades. Making a bridge from the rodeo to today’s Austin is what hooked me.”
With plenty of time to recollect, we’re seeking your rodeo stories. Were you kicked by a bronc? (I very nearly was at an early age.)
Did you meet a cowgirl or cowboy? (I’ve met some pretty cool ones.)
Did you witness the musical act of a lifetime? (My last one was Loretta Lynn and it was freezing cold in the drafty old Expo Center, which needs a lot of work — or a dandy replacement.)
Meanwhile, we’ll pair your memories with fantastic old shots — many from the 1970s and ’80s — of the Austin rodeos taken by the inimitable photographer Robert Godwin.
Please send your rodeo memories to firstname.lastname@example.org. Soon!
You can’t understand New Austin without delving into Old Austin. One digital avenue for that quest is Austin Found, a series of historical images of Austin and Texas published at statesman.com/austinfound. We’ll share samples here regularly.