The Trail Rides Head Into Downtown Houston

Members of the Southwestern Trail Ride make it into Rodeo Houston on a very cold day
Members of the Southwestern Trail Ride make it into Rodeo Houston on a very cold day
Photo by Sarah Tucker

It's Go Texan Day, and that means one thing for Houstonians: trail rides.

Thirteen trail rides from across Texas will set up camp in Memorial Park today. Tomorrow morning, they'll head downtown for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's annual Parade.

One group, the Southwestern Trail Ride, travels in 100 miles from West Columbia, Texas. Riding six miles per hour with 250 riders and nine wagons, it takes the group seven days to reach their campground.

Charles Olison has been riding with the group for 15 years.

"I used to watch the Saltgrass Trail Ride growing up," Olison said. "It's a golden opportunity to do this."

Some of the 13 trail rides have been going on for more than 50 years, and many native Houstonians remember seeing them as kids.

Stacey Block, who grew up watching the trail rides near I-10 and running out of school with her classmates to watch riders go by, pulled over with her daughter to watch the Southwestern Trail Ride travel past Rice Village.

Block, who hasn't seen trail riders in several years, was glad her daughter was able to see them for the first time. They plan to share a video on Facebook so out-of-state friends can see the trail ride, too. "This is what people who aren't from Texas think Texas is like all the time," Block said.

Block loves the trail rides and says they make her feel proud to be from Texas. But "if you're in a hurry to get somewhere and you forget it's Go Texan day, it's not so fun," she said.


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