Up before the crack of dawn, they're riding all day, whether it’s hot or freezing rain—and this time of year in Texas—they’ve seen it all. At night, in the country before the city pollutes the sky, they make a campside and socialize with the other riders over dinner and maybe a dance.
We caught up with the Sam Houston Trail Ride. Taryn Sims has been riding for two decades.
“It is very emotional. One of my favorite parts is riding into Memorial Park and then actually going out to the downtown parade. You just have to take a breath and go ‘wow, this is awesome’,” said Sims.
Sam Houston Trail Boss Bruce Fraysur said he works a month ahead of time to get things ready and be prepared for any type of weather. He’s responsible for about 60 riders this year.
“You feel like a movie star when you come into the town, everybody waving at you and hollering at you, and just happy to see you,” said Fraysur.
The Trail Rides begin entering Memorial Park at 11 am.
“Sorry for the blocking the traffic. Don’t get mad at us. This only happens once a year,” said Fraysur.
In January of 1952, the first Trail Ride took place with four men from Brenham.
Today, more than 3,000 trail riders partake in the Rodeo's signature tradition each year. Riders hit the trail in an attempt to recreate the Old West.
11 Trail Rides participate in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Downtown Rodeo Parade.
More than 1,300 miles are covered by all 11 Trial Rides.
The Mission Trail Ride is the longest distance with 239 miles beginning in San Antonio.
The shortest distance is 71.5 miles: Valley Lodge Trail Ride begins in Brookshire.
Many of the horses on the ride are rescued animals.
Friday, Feb. 23
11 am: Trail Rides begin entering Memorial Park
4 pm: All Trail Rides in place at Memorial Park
5 pm: Awards ceremony at Memorial Park
Saturday, Feb. 24
10 am: Trail Rides participate in Downtown Rodeo Parade
3 pm: Trail Rides leave Memorial Park