It's been a long wait for this year's Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, but the participants and spectators came ready for it on opening day.
"I kind of have a dream of competing one day, maybe still, even though I'm a great-grandmother," Allen resident Mary Smelser said as she watched the Versatility Ranch Horse Show. "They have the best ranches, some of the best horses, and the best competitors anywhere in the world right here, right nearby home."
The city's biggest event celebrates cowboy culture, in all its forms.
"Shine that light on them so everybody, regardless of what your background is, you can learn to appreciate it and enjoy it," Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo Spokesman Matt Brock said. "That's why we have an Escaramuza competition.
The Escaramuzas, the queens of the Mexican rodeo, are eight-women teams that do choreographed routines, riding side-saddle on horseback.
"I feel so proud of what I'm doing, to wear this hat and, you know, my poofy dress," Escaramuza coach Elbia Catalni said. She's been riding side-saddle for 27-years. "Don't ask me my age, cause I'm not going to tell you!"
The Escaramuzas will perform in the Best of Mexico show Sunday night.
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"I've always loved the sport, ever since I was little," Escaramuza team captain Sair Gomez said. "I always told my parents, 'I want to be an Escaramuza! I want to be an Escaramuza'!"
For the schedule of events at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, click here.