Trail Rides

Preserving a Piece of History

History of the Texas Trail Ride

Texas was once a land of many trails — the arteries that linked the outlying areas with settlements. The only transportation in the early days was powered by horse, mule or oxen, and many trails in different parts of the state were originally paths formed by the repetitive use of settlers. Stagecoach routes also helped establish more trails, and today’s highways are modern day versions of those same routes which connected the more populous areas of the state.

The groups of people who comprise the 13 trail rides that converge on Houston are like small cities of settlers, combining their leadership and resources to bring their group over many miles. They are people from all walks of life, and each trail ride has many interesting stories. Their appearance in Houston signals the start of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ as they merge via many routes into Memorial Park and proudly ride Saturday morning in the Downtown Rodeo Parade.

Trail Ride Media Guide

Trail Ride Public Relations Committee Contacts

Officer in Charge

David Yates

Chairman

Scott Baumann

Vice Chairman

Andrea Sharayha

Captain

Kacey White

Members

  • Susan Buddeke
  • Veronica Castillo
  • Tammy G. Davis
  • Rhonda Freytag
  • Cyndy Garza
  • Shelly Milwee
  • Belinda Rowell
  • Miranda Sevcik
  • Charlotte Stowe

Trail Ride Committee

The trail rides bring to the modern city of Houston the visual reminders of our Western heritage, and the Trail Ride Committee works as a team to help bring the rides safely to Houston for the Downtown Rodeo Parade. Led by Officer in Charge David Yates and Chairman Scott Baumann, the Trail Ride Committee’s more than 150 members are involved in every aspect of the journey to Houston.

Meetings begin months in advance with leadership of the trail rides to cover the safety and management of the thousands of riders traveling from every direction to converge in Houston. Important issues that are covered range from safety of people, equipment and animals on the road to Memorial Park and downtown, to education about carbon monoxide dangers and proper handling of generators. Members of the Trail Ride Committee judge the rides numerous times along the route, ensuring that safety requirements are met, and that the rides preserve the standards of Western heritage that must be observed by a sanctioned trail ride of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Trail Ride Facts

  • The first Trail Ride took place in January of 1952.
  • Four men made that first journey from Brenham, Texas, to Houston.
  • One year later in 1953, 80 people signed up to make the ride. This was the beginning of the Salt Grass Trail Ride. By 1954, 800 people were participating.
  • More than 3,000 riders will saddle up and head to Houston from all directions, including Louisiana and Mexico. 
  • 13 rides will ride into downtown Houston for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Downtown Rodeo Parade, taking place Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016.
  • All 13 Trial Rides will have covered nearly 1,800 miles.
  • The Los Vaqueros Trail Ride is the longest ride, covering 386 miles, beginning in Reynosa, Mexico.
  • The Texas Cattlemen’s Trail Ride is the shortest ride, covering 70 miles, beginning in Montgomery, Texas.
  • In recent years, female Trail Bosses have served several rides as their very capable leaders.
  • Responsibilities of the Trail Boss: Safety issues are a big responsibility.
  • How to be a Trail Hand: There are a number of jobs that have to be done on the trail in order to move a trail ride successfully.
  • Animal Rescue & Turn of the Century Wagons: Many of the horses on the ride have been rescued from bad circumstances and nursed back to health. The Texas Independence Trail Ride has such animals. They also have three original wagons from the turn of the century.
  • It’s a Family Tradition: Many of the trail rides include family members and generations of all ages.
  • Community Outreach: Many of the trail rides have a tradition of distributing scholarships to area students as well as visiting schools to share the history of the Show and trail rides.

Download | About Trail Bosses

Awards

2016 Awards Ceremony

  • Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, 5 p.m.
  • Memorial Park (Memorial Drive at North Picnic Lane)
  • Broadcasting channel: ABC 13 KTRK

All of the rides gather for the Awards Ceremony, with awards presented by Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo officials. In attendance are the Show vice presidents, representing the more than 32,000 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo volunteers. The Awards Ceremony celebrates the completion of each of the 13 trail rides with a special award; as each trail boss comes forward to receive recognition for the ride they have led. Representatives from Houston’s major media outlets are always on-hand to report live on award winners. 

The awards for Best Trail Ride recognize the best ride in each of the three divisions. A team from the Trail Ride Committee and the Jr. Rodeo Committee judge their appearance as they arrive, and that is combined with other judging that took place on the trail. 

Divisions

  • Division I Large Rides – 145 or more participants
  • Division II Medium Rides – 50-144 participants
  • Division III Small Rides – 49 or fewer participants

Judging criteria include appearance of riders and wagons, adherence to safety requirements, approved animals and wagons, behavior of riders within guidelines, and appropriate dress (traditional Western wear).

The trail rides strive to win the Best Trail Ride in their division, and their award includes a flag announcing their status, and a trophy.

2015 Award Winners

  • Safety Award: Valley Lodge Trail Ride 
  • Spirit Award: Salt Grass Trail Ride 
  • Spirit Award: Texas Independence Trail Ride 
  • Division I (Large Trail Ride – 145+ participants): Texas Independence Trail Ride 
  • Division II (Medium Trail Ride – 50 to 144 participants): The Spanish Trail Ride 
  • Division III (Small Trail Ride – 49 or fewer participants): Old Spanish Trail Ride

Schedule and Maps

Memorial Park Schedule


Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016
  • noon – Trail Ride Committee takes over park and closes this portion of the park to the public
Friday, Feb. 26, 2016
  • 11 a.m. – Rides begin to enter Memorial Park
  • 5 p.m. – Awards Ceremony

Parade Day Schedule


Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016
  • 7:30 a.m. – Rides line up to exit park
  • 8 a.m. – Rides exit park in reverse order from arrival
  • 9:30 a.m. – ConocoPhillips Rodeo Run
  • 10 a.m. – Downtown Rodeo Parade begins

All rides return to Memorial Park from the Downtown Rodeo Parade and disband by 3 p.m.

Trail Ride Awards Ceremony and Downtown Rodeo Parade will broadcast on ABC 13 KTRK.


Memorial Park Maps



Route Maps


View the individual Trail Ride sections below to track the riders' journey to Houston. 

Los Vaqueros Rio Grande Trail Ride

Trail Boss

David Ramirez
  • 832.428.0580

Assistant Trail Boss

Sal Ramirez
  • 936.200.0106

Secretary

Sylvia Partida
  • 832.428.0580

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 43
  • Established: February 1973
  • Start Date: Feb. 6, 2016
  • Location: Hidalgo, Texas
  • Distance: 386 miles
  • Number of Riders: 50
  • Number of Wagons: 4

Downloads

Map

Mission Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Larry Valles
  • 281.935.5538

Assistant Trail Boss

William Lopez
  • 281.857.4909

Secretary

Debbie Lopez
  • 832.335.2655

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 26
  • Established: January 1991
  • Start Date: Feb. 13, 2016
  • Location: San Antonio, Texas
  • Distance: 239 miles
  • Number of Riders: 65
  • Number of Wagons: 4

Downloads

Map

Northeastern Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Anthony Bruno
  • 713.530.7986

Assistant Trail Boss

Keith Mack
  • 832.798.8349

Secretary

Chrisetta Mack
  • 832.866.7684

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 26
  • Established: 1990
  • Start Date: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Location: Cheeks, Texas
  • Distance: 109 miles
  • Number of Riders: 300-350
  • Number of Wagons: 10

Downloads

Map

Old Spanish Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Morris W. Brown
  • 936.332.2095

Assistant Trail Boss

Barney Cases
  • 281.413.5597

Secretary

Norma Cases
  • 281.413.5661

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 61
  • Established: January 1956
  • Start Date: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Location: Logansport, Louisiana
  • Distance: 216 miles
  • Number of Riders: 50-100
  • Number of Wagons: 0

Downloads

Map

Prairie View Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Myrtis Dightman Jr.
  • 713.882.3959

Assistant Trail Boss

John Burkhalter
  • 832.235.5426

Secretary

Gina Goosby-Harris
  • 713.248.6149

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 59
  • Established: January 1957
  • Start Date: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Location: Hempstead, Texas
  • Distance: 89 miles
  • Number of Riders: 200
  • Number of Wagons: 7

Downloads

Map

Salt Grass Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Mitch Morgan
  • 832.788.1890

Assistant Trail Boss

Dan Johnston
  • 713.201.1047

Secretary

Conni Meyer
  • 281.615.3707

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 65
  • Established: January 1952
  • Start Date: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Location: Cat Spring, Texas
  • Distance: 103 miles
  • Number of Riders: 1,200
  • Number of Wagons: 25

Downloads

Map

Sam Houston Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Earl Blackmon
  • 936.672.6820

Assistant Trail Boss

Bruce Fraysur
  • 281.924.4743

Secretary

Linda Sharp Dyess

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 62
  • Established: February 1955
  • Start Date: Feb. 23, 2016
  • Location: Montgomery, Texas
  • Distance: 70 miles
  • Number of Riders: 100 – 125
  • Number of Wagons: 8

Downloads

Map

Southwest Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Alex Prince
  • 832.665.6918

Assistant Trail Boss

Paul Simpson
  • 832.731.0764

Secretary

D’edrere Hightower
  • 281.780.9715

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 23
  • Established: January 1993
  • Start Date: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Location: Rosenberg, Texas
  • Distance: 123 miles
  • Number of Riders: 275
  • Number of Wagons: 14

Downloads

Map

Southwestern Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Rosetta Gray
  • 281.414.9134

Assistant Trail Boss

Elizabeth Cook
  • 713.419.0580

Secretary

Gabrielle Curvey
  • 832.931.6572

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 43
  • Established: January 1973
  • Start Date: Feb. 19, 2016
  • Location: West Columbia, Texas
  • Distance: 100 miles
  • Number of Riders: 250
  • Number of Wagons: 10

Downloads

Map

Texas Cattlemen’s Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Cliff Willson
  • 281.413.0101

Assistant Trail Boss

Ricky Nelson
  • 903.388.5291

Secretary

Leslie Nelson Young
  • 713.249.3164

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 31
  • Established: January 1986
  • Start Date: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Location: Magnolia, Texas
  • Distance: 70 miles
  • Number of Riders: 45
  • Number of Wagons: 4

Downloads

Map

Texas Independence Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Jeff Simpson
  • 409.739.6725

Assistant Trail Boss

Sandy Flippo
  • 979.248.1012

Secretary

Tina Wargo
  • 281.744.8404

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 55
  • Established: January 1961
  • Start Date: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Location: Brazoria, Texas
  • Distance: 100 miles
  • Number of Riders: 100 – 150
  • Number of Wagons: TBD

Downloads

Map

The Spanish Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Joe Cantrell
  • 713.875.0294

Assistant Trail Boss

Larry Cantrell
  • 936.672.3033

Secretary

Wendy Drabbant
  • 281.541.9028

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 56
  • Established: January 1961
  • Start Date: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Location: Shepherd, Texas
  • Distance: 109 miles
  • Number of Riders: 150
  • Number of Wagons: 10

Downloads

Map

Valley Lodge Trail Ride

Trail Boss

Jim Hubbard
  • 713.823.3434

Assistant Trail Boss

Wheat McKinney
  • 713.254.9674

Secretary

Nancy Schmidt
  • 713.851.9309

About the Ride

  • Years of Participation: 57
  • Established: January 1959
  • Start Date: Feb. 20, 2016
  • Location: Brookshire, Texas
  • Distance: 71.5 miles
  • Number of Riders: 150
  • Number of Wagons: 9

Downloads

Map

Events

2016 Trail Ride Winners

Safety Award: Northeastern Trail Ride

Spirit Award: Texas Independence Trail Ride

Spirit Award: Valley Lodge Trail Ride

Division I (Large Trail Ride – 145+ participants): Salt GrassTrail Ride

Division II (Medium Trail Ride – 50 to 144 participants): Prairie View Trail Ride

Division III (Small Trail Ride – 49 or fewer participants): Valley Lodge Trail Ride