Let’s Rodeo!

texas longhorn

1) rodeo noun: an event in which people compete at riding horses and bulls, catching animals with ropes, etc.

2) rodeo verb: to participate in rodeo activities as a competitor or spectator

Never heard of rodeo used as a verb?  Then maybe you haven’t spent much time in Texas. Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you.  I saw online that The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo starts today and it has put me in a lone star state of mind.  It also got me to thinking about how I’m a poor excuse for a Texan.  I don’t own a pair of cowboy boots, I don’t know how to two-step, and I was never all that in to country music, especially the newer variety.  But like most from my lovely state, I have a healthy amount of state pride. One of the reasons I love being from Texas is because people who have never been have the silliest ideas of what Texas is like.  I like playing “cultural ambassador” and explaining away misconceptions or answering questions.

Let’s get a few things straight:

  • The majority of people don’t own horses, and they certainly don’t ride them to work, unless they happen to work on a ranch. (yes, I’ve had to address this one before.) Incidentally, every time I have ridden a horse, I was not  in Texas.
  • Family life for most looks nothing like the experiences of JR Ewing and crew on Southfork.  Erase the show Dallas from your mind.
  • Texans like to do other things besides rounding up their cows and drinking beer. For example, big cities have world-renown museums and thriving arts scenes.  In fact, Houston has more theater seats in a concentrated area than any other place in the US after Broadway.
  • Not everyone is a gun-toting, super-conservative, but they certainly exist.
  • The population is not ethnically homogeneous and Houston is, according to a Rice University study, the most ethnically diverse city in the country, even surpassing New York.  (This segment on NPR (with a great photo of Buddhist monks in front of a strip mall) references the study.)
  • Not everyone owns a gun but they are popular.
  • Texas is not made up only of small towns such as Cut and Shoot and Comfort. (Yes, those are real towns.  Doesn’t Comfort, Texas have a nice ring to it?)  Houston, Dallas and San Antonio are all in the top 10 of largest cities in the U.S.
  • Texas is not full of homophobic racists (in fact, Houstonians elected one of the first openly gay mayors in the U.S.), but again, they do exist.
  • The landscape is not defined by desert and tumbleweeds. Its diverse geography includes pine-covered hills, rolling plains, canyons, mountains, and rivers.
  • The accent.  Not everyone with a southern drawl is from Texas.  Every time my British husband comments on what he considers to be a crazy” Texan accent of someone on TV, the person is actually from Kentucky or Georgia or somewhere else in the South.

What do you think of when you think of Texas? Maybe you think of oil rigs.  Oil is big in Texas, can’t deny that one.  Chances are, if you’re an expat in the UAE, you know someone who has lived in Texas because of the oil connection it shares with the UAE. This article in Forbes about the oil production in Texas states that if it were an independent country, Texas would now rank as the 9th largest oil-producing country in the world, surpassing countries like Kuwait and Venezuela.  If production continues at its current pace, it will surpass the UAE and other oil-rich nations.  Who knew?

I don’t take offense when people share with me a less than informed opinion of Texas (and often times, it’s not too flattering). Even though we all try hard not to be presumptuous, it happens from time to time.  In my opinion, discovering the opposite of what I had assumed about people and places is one of the fun things about traveling and living overseas.

Do people have misconceptions about where you are from? Or have you traveled somewhere expecting one thing, only to experience another? Leave a comment below! And if you’re in Houston,

photo via sheplers.com

photo via sheplers.com

About Lynda

Longhorns and Camels is a blog about exploring Dubai from the perspective of an expat from Texas. It features commentary about living in Dubai including descriptions of local culture and popular activities in the region. It also includes photography of the UAE and other countries abroad. It has been recommended by several well-known guides for expatriates: InterNations, ExpatWoman and Expat Focus.
This entry was posted in Articles to Read, Texas and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Let’s Rodeo!

  1. Laura says:

    I love rodeos, having grown up in 4-H! I have to admit that as a New Mexican, we have many pre-opinions about Texans, mostly based on their affinity for our real estate and ski slopes! ;) I have learned a few new things from your post, so thanks, and my opinion has changed slightly after visiting Austin and Palo Duro Canyon. There’s hope yet! Take care xLaura

    • Lynda says:

      Happy to hear you had good experiences. You can’t blame a Texan for trying to enjoy your beautiful state, can you? ;) I do love Red River. :)

  2. When I think of Texas I think of BIG, big everything, BBQ, and a population very proud of their state! I think of my friend who is a Longhorn fan, flowers that look like our eastern lupin, I think they are bluebels? I also think hot and humid…just like Dubai!!

    • Lynda says:

      Well you’re pretty much spot on there! :) I had to look up your flower because I had never heard of it and yes – they certainly do look like bluebonnets – Cool! I then read on Wikipedia that bluebonnets are a species of the genus Lupinus so I guess they are related. You can see some in the picture above – a few in the foreground and then the blue patch in the background. Not all of Texas is hot and humid, but Houston, where I’m from, most definitely is.

  3. Sally says:

    A friend who I met in the UAE has moved to Houston and I mentioned just last night that I’d like to visit her. My husband came out with all the things you say – oil town etc. Timely post. Renewed eagerness to visit!

    • Lynda says:

      Ha! Good timing! You should definitely visit – let me know if you go. I admit there are some not-so-great aspects of the city, but I think most people would be surprised by how many cool things are going on there.

  4. Mitzie Mee says:

    Great post:) Must admit that I held most of the misconceptions you mentioned (I had that Dallas/JR scenery imprinted on all the Texas-related neurons in my brain):) Would love to visit Texas someday..

    • Lynda says:

      Thanks :) Too funny about Dallas – that show really has some staying power! When I wrote this post I looked up the theme song on you tube – seeing the intro again was great! You should definitely go – there’s direct flights from here you know. :) It’s a fun place to visit (at the right time of year.)

  5. Ross says:

    I must admit I probably did have some of those stereotypes in my head. But Im better educated now and will be able to wow the next Texan I see. Thanks.

    • Lynda says:

      Ha! Yes please do – I’m sure he/she will be very impressed. Thanks for stopping by. Had a look at your site, looks interesting. :)

  6. Hi Lynda. In a post on my own blog back in May 2013 (“Cayman’s Politics of Exclusion”), I mentioned Texas, more or less in passing. Its area is actually slightly smaller than that of our electoral district back in Australia when I was a boy. there surely can’t be many electorates in the world bigger than the whole of Texas!

  7. Lynda, Terri and I lived in Texas twice, both times in Dallas. (And I’ve been to Dubai, and owned a pair of cowboy boots as well.) In fact, I’m a geophysicist and I was in the all bidness. We were rotating in and out of Dallas between overseas assignments. Texas isn’t for everyone, but other than the Bush family, I have nothing but kind words for Tejas. Hookem Horns! ~ James

    • Lynda says:

      Cool! Well that explains our similar paths. (Terri has mentioned your time in Khartoum – not that Dubai is like Khartoum but you know what I mean). I would love a pair of cowboys boots if I knew what to wear with them. Hope you’re still enjoying Mexico!

  8. Diana says:

    Well…can I admit when I am teaching English one of the first things I teach is how to say “y’all”….ha, ha, ha…but then I explain it is probably better to stick with “you!” Gotta learn them Italians the proper way to speak!

  9. Pingback: A Nice Day for a Texas Wedding | Abby's Roads

  10. We lived in Texas (near Austin) for 2 years. You are absolutely right about Texas being diverse. Austin is one of the quirkiest cities in America.

    Some stereotypes are TOTALLY true about the majority of people there though. However I think that will change in the next 5-10 years. Housing is cheap (with massive land plots and houses compared to most urban areas), food is good (who doesn’t love BBQ) and there are no state taxes. Loads of Californians (where I’m from) have moved to Texas and fallen in love with it.

    • Lynda says:

      Hi there – thanks for stopping by! Great to hear you had a stint in Texas! :) I think most stereotypes are rooted in a bit of truth so I agree – there are definitely some (a lot?) of people in Texas who fit the ideas most people have, especially outside of major cities. I guess I just don’t hang out with them much so I don’t know much about it – haha. Lucky you to be from California. Who doesn’t love CA?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s