This might surprise a few folks but what's life without a surprise or two; the "surprise" being that I'm a fan all genres of music, country music being one (sue me). The idea of listening to much of the hip hop being pumped into the air, today, doesn't appeal to me, and rock hasn't been the same since Axel Rose went all Axel Rose on the twenty something years ago, so by default I'm forced to adapt and adapt I have over the course of the last few years or so.
Last week, I hopped on a plane and headed to Houston, Texas in order to do two things, the first was to see what this Houston Rodeo was all about, and the second was to see if this Chris Stapleton guy is all that and a bag of chips.
Look, I'm going to keep it 100% real, there's NOTHING about me that says cowboy, rodeo, country music, Texas, or brisket... NOTHING! Well, maybe I'm fibbing a bit, there's a part of me that says brisket beats tri-tip, only because these folks in Texas have that dialed in like no other, I mean the way the flavor jumps off (I'm doing it again, I'm getting pulled into this crazy meat battle).
My idea of a rodeo is the Clovis Rodeo which takes place every April, here in town. I've never been to the Clovis Rodeo only due to the fact, I've always heard it really isn't a place for, how did the guy in Old Town Clovis put it one time, "Colored folks shouldn't be coming out to stuff like this, it isn't for your kind." Yeeeeeeeeeeah, as you can guess, I'm not running to any rodeos in town but there's something different about Houston, something I just can't quite place my fingers on exactly.
The invite to the rodeo was extended to me, by a friend, and the artists laid out for me to choose from were vast but the only one I wanted to see was Chris Stapleton. As we pulled up to NRG Stadium and I began to see all of the hats, jeans, rhinestone cowboys and cowgirls, I thought that I was going to be in over my head a bit and stick out like a black jelly bean in a tic tac container. The truth is no one even paid me any mind as I strolled through the parking lot and into the arena. There was more "color" in the building and it made me feel as if Crayola Crayons were running one last test on mankind.
I've seen a lot of neat things in my life but this rodeo has to be one of the highlights of my forty years of existence! I mean, I didn't think things could get better event after event but here I was trying to decide if the mutton races, barrel races, wagon races, team roping, FFA calf chase, or bull riding was the best; this rodeo had everything.
By the time the music started, I was thinking to myself, "Self, you made the right decision by coming out here and stepping out of your comfort zone" and then the lights went down and this brutha Chris Stapleton and his band rolled up the stage in black SUVs.
I'm not going to ruin the show for anyone scheduled to see him in Fresno, CA say in June sometime, however, I will say that Chris Stapleton left me feeling like there are still good people in this world; perhaps it was the way he looked at his wife, then again, perhaps it was the way she looked at him, either way they've travelled a long way to be where they are today.
The idea of a rodeo isn't something I would have come up with on my own but there's something special about Houston, Tx, there's something special about watching stars come to shine!
"Running on hope and a tank of gas, like dreams ain't just for dreamers..." - When The Stars Come Out