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Cowboy Capital of the World 'Celebrates Bandera'

Special to the Courier

Pictured: Celebrate Bandera presents the Circle of Life Inter-Tribal Powwow located at the back of Mansfield Park on Highway 16 North Friday, Saturday an Sunday. There is free admission on Friday evening. The powwow's featured events include dance competitions; exhibition performances by internationally known Hoop Dancer, Lyndon Alec; and special hand and drum and flute demonstrations.

Ever watch an old western movie and wonder what it was like to live during that time period? Well, living in Bandera is almost like being in a western movie. This area not only lives the western lifestyle, but also celebrates it - especially Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 29, 30 and 31.
On Labor Day weekend, Bandera turns back the pages of history to the late 1800s - back to cattle drives, rodeo skills and Native American Indians to mark Bandera's 162nd birthday - Celebrate Bandera!
At Mansfield Park the night of Friday, August 29, li'l wranglers can participate in the Hoof & Foot Horseless Ranch Rodeo, produced by the Ridin' the River Cowboy Fellowship. Fun for the whole family, this event showcases cowboy skills and creative teamwork. There might even be a chance to dress a goat! Admission to the Hoof & Foot Horseless Ranch Rodeo is by donation.
Celebrate Bandera also presents the Circle of Life Inter-Tribal Powwow, which includes Native American dancers from across the nation. Located in the back of Mansfield Park, the gates open Friday evening and admission is free. The powwow continues through Sunday and featured events include dance competitions; exhibition performances by internationally known Hoop Dancer, Lyndon Alec; and special hand and drum and flute demonstrations. Native American wars will be available for purchase and Indian fry bread will be abundant.
For really fast action, the Cowboy Capital Mounted Shooters perform high-speed horse competitions at Mansfield Park on Highway 16 North on Saturday morning.
During the late 1800s, Bandera became one of the major staging areas for the thousands of herds - totaling more than 6 million head of longhorn cattle - that were driven up the Great Western Trail to markets in Kansas and Nebraska. Celebrate Bandera remembers and honors the cowboys who left such a rich heritage.
On Saturday, August 30, prior to Bandera's signature longhorn cattle drive up Main Street, the State of Texas will honor that heritage with the dedication of a historical marker honoring Bandera as the "gathering place" for the Great Western Trail. Beginning around 9 am, a cowboy breakfast of biscuits and gravy will be served and a "John Wayne" toss-your-hat-on-a-weather-vane competition at the Western Trail Heritage Park on Main Street. Winner of the hat toss will receive a 40X cowboy hat donated by Billy's Western Wear of Kerrville.
By mid-morning, folks will gather in town for the morning events. At about 9:30 am, breakfast tacos will be available at Lowe's Market parking lot before Cow Patty Bingo. The proper drop of a cow patty will determine the winners of great prizes and cash, to boot.
At 11 am, Ranch Radio's Longhorn Cattle Drive up Main Street will kickoff the Cowboy Capital of the World Parade, featuring more cowboys and horses than one can imagine. A Celebrate Bandera Arts & Crafts Festival also takes place on the courthouse lawn, in addition to performances by the Bandera Cattle Company.
Also, try your hand at Chickin' Ropin or the $25,000 Cow Chip Challenge at Rattle Snake Ridge, the old west town. There'll be plenty of music and good eats, too, so plan to spend the day.
Saturday night at Mansfield Park brings the "Hottest Eight Seconds of the Year" at the Buddy Byrd's Septic and Water Well's National Professional Bull Riders Challenge, presented by Coldwell Banker Stage Coach Realty. The arena action also includes performances by World Champion Trick Roper Keven Fitzpatrick, World Champion Gun Twirler Pistol Packin' Paula, and Native American Hoop Dancer Lyndon Alec. And, don't forget the mutton bustin' and adult calf scramble.
On Sunday morning, August 31, everyone will gather at the Medina River in Bandera City Park for a cowboy breakfast by the Western Heritage Cowboy Church, followed by some great preaching and cowboy gospel music. Gospel music will also take place at the courthouse, as well as the arts & crafts festival and more from the Bandera Cattle Company.
Back at Mansfield Park, the finals of the National Professional Bull Riders Challenge include the added excitement of the South Texas Bull Fighting Tour and the finals of the Cow Chip Challenge. Two individuals get to play "Pick Till Ya Win" and each have a chance to win either $25,000, a family weekend at the Mayan Guest Ranch or $200 cash.
Celebrate Bandera is all about cowboys and Indians - come live the dream in Bandera. For event schedules and ticket information, visit www.celebratebandera.com, or call 830-796-4447.