This is Barbecue from the G.I. Joe cartoon. And yes, he really has nothing to do with the rodeo.


The boots and cowboy hats were out in full force last night for the kickoff to the Houston Rodeo cook-off. It used to be pretty easy to scam your way into the restricted-access tents by smuggling in different colored wristbands,


, so most of the gatekeepers have wised up and moved on to an ultraviolet-stamping system. Luckily, we had passes for the


tent, which had

Billy Holt

providing the tunes and the Fowl Feathered Cookers serving up grub.

At one point the band stopped playing and announced it was time to throw some baseballs in the crowd. "Real funny," we thought, but then up popped Debbie Clemens, wife of the Rocket, who said she was sorry Roger and Cody were at spring training and couldn't make the event. And then the woman proceeded to start chunking autographed balls from the stage. Thankfully (unless, of course, you're a big fan of slapstick), the cowboys had no problem hauling them in.

But the highlight of the event was the free drinks. Beer options were limited — naturally, considering this was a tequila company — but the Palomas were especially tasty. Apparently Cazadores is considered a respectable house tequila in Mexico, and we had nothing but respect for it last night. — Keith Plocek

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