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'Cowboy Up' & celebrate America's icon

By Mary Allyce Special to the Courier

Pictured: Photo by Clare Barnett
The Ranch Rodeo action that at 8 pm Saturday, July 27, at Mansfield Park continues Bandera's National Day of the American Cowboy celebration. Everyone's invited to "git their cowboy on!"

Willie Nelson warned, "Mama's don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys," but The Frontier Times Museum encourages one and all to be cowboys on Saturday, July 27, when the National Day of The American Cowboy kicks off at 10 am at the museum grounds.

The fun has been streamlined into one jam-packed day with western activities moving from the museum at 510 13th Street to a night of fast-paced horse racing, starting at 5:30 pm on the grounds of Mansfield Park and the arena action of Ranch Rodeo at 8 pm.

Bring the whole family to the museum grounds where 13th Street will be closed to traffic but open to a wide range of vendors, many offering western-themed wares.

Entertainment that will keep everyone entertained all day includes World Champion Trick Roper Kevin Fitzpatrick; Old West-style gunfights by the Bandera Cattle Company; Casino, the largest riding steer in Texas; exotic animals from Bill River's Lightning Ranch; and cowboy music, poetry and storytelling. For a $2 donation to the museum, you can "git yer pitcher taken" and published in the Bandera County Courier so don't fergit to wear yer 10-gallon hat! Line up for photos from 10 am until noon.

Western kids' activities, organized by Leanne Beauxbeannes, keep the littlest wranglers busy and there will be plenty of food and beverage vendors to help keep your energy up through the day. Tents and trees offer shade and seating and everyone's invited to step into the museum to cool down and enjoy the displays and collections.

At noon, the Texas Heroes take over the Texas Trail Drivers' Theater stage under the big tent, courtesy of Dietz-McLean Optical. Five exceptional Texans - Gary P. Nunn, who will entertain at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar Friday night, July 26, Bob Mansfield, David K. Langford, Peggy Tobin and Larry Nolen - will be inducted into the Hall of Honor in a ceremony slated for High Noon.

After the ceremony, entertainment continues on the stage until 3 pm, then it'll be time to rest up for a full night of racin' and rodeo at Mansfield Park, located off Highway 16 North.

Gates open at 5 pm at Mansfield Park and the first of 16 heats of horse races begins at 5:30 pm. Two horses and riders go head-to-head for 100 yards until it's down to the final two riders racing for an added-money pot.

The Ranch Rodeo starts at 8 pm in the big arena where 16 teams compete in events using skills real cowboys need on the ranch. This year the organizers added buckin' broncs to liven things up even more.

Again this year, Ranch Radio will give away a horse, tack, feed and vet care during the evening and little cowboys and girls will compete in calf scramble and mutton bustin'.

Gate admission is $10 for adults and $5 for those under 12 years with a $5 parking-program fee.

Join the Frontier Times Museum, title sponsor H-E-B and presenting sponsor Bandera First State Bank and find your inner cowboy - or cowgal - on Saturday, July 27 at Bandera's National Day of The American Cowboy celebration. Yee-haw!!!