Cowgirls are taking turns climbing onto the stage and turning around to display their denim-clad derrieres to the audience. It's the Miss Blue Jeans Contest at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo barbecue cook-off. When a woman wiggles provocatively, the men wave their cowboy hats in the air and roar in approval. The women are all white. And so are the hundred or so guys standing in front of the stage. The cowboy next to me is wearing a colorful necklace of plastic Confederate flags. The atmosphere of a typical cook-off has been described as a redneck Mardi Gras.... More >>>