Horse-drawn covered wagons and cowboys and cowgirls on horseback arrived at their final destination in Memorial Park today for an over-night stay before the 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Downtown Rodeo Parade at 10 a.m. tomorrow. More than 3,000 riders from 13 different trail rides began their decent on Houston from all parts of Texas and Mexico — some traveling as much as 386 miles — to denote the beginning of the Show.
Along the week-long journey, trail rides were judged on appearance, authenticity and overall Western spirit. The 2013 Trail Ride winners are:
- Spirit Award – Los Vaqueros Trail Ride
- Spirit Award – Texas Independence Trail Ride
- Division 3 Award – Texas Cattlemen’s Trail Ride
- Division 2 Award – Prairie View Trail Ride
- Division 1 Award – Texas Independence
The 13 participating trail rides included: Los Vaqueros, Mission, Northeastern, Old Spanish, Prairie View, Salt Grass, Sam Houston, Southwest, Southwestern, Spanish, Texas Cattlemen’s, Texas Independence and Valley Lodge.
In January of 1952, several men formed the first trail ride as a way to bring attention to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Though only four men made that first journey from Brenham, Texas, they attracted more publicity than ever expected, and more than 80 riders signed up for the next year’s Salt Grass Trail Ride.
The longest trail ride is the Los Vaqueros Trail Ride, which travels 386 miles from Mexico. The shortest trail ride is the Texas Cattlemen’s Trail Ride, which travels 70 miles from Montgomery, Texas.