Thing is, those are about the three things a whole lot of rodeo-goers don't want to think about, because a) they are much likelier to have a relative serving overseas; b) they probably voted for the poor bastard; and c) they felt — are feeling — this economic earthquake earliest and deepest. (Despite the current downturn, Schafer expects little to no drop in rodeo attendance this year, because fairs and rodeos are affordable, and many people who might otherwise head out of town on Spring Break stay home and come to the rodeo instead.)

Besides, there's a good chance that even if the rodeo did ask Steve Earle or Lucinda Williams to play, they'd get a politically spurred, but polite, 'no thanks.' But at the same time, if for some totally bizarre reason those artists suddenly sold a million or two albums, the rodeo would definitely at least ask.

Besides, there's still a few people out there lefties and conservatives can agree on. For example, how badass would it be next year if Neil Young plugged in for a tripleheader of his brand-new scratch-blues "Fork in the Road" ("You can't eat hope"), "Cinnamon Girl" and "Rockin' in the Free World"? Plus "Cowgirl in the Sand" and maybe Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth"?


RodeoHouston's concert series runs March 4-22 at Reliant Park, Loop 610 and Fannin. Preliminary events such as the barbecue cookoff, which features Cowboy Mouth and Honeybrowne, begin Thursday, February 26. See

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