The heartburn brought on by funnel cakes and turkey legs has passed.
What seemed to be one of the largest and most fun Western Weeks of the past few years is now over but the memories will last.
The rides were packed with screaming, laughing children.
Lines for ride tickets grew longer each minute as tired looking parents smiled down at their bouncing children, faces smeared with candy apple and cotton candy long since eaten. Their clothes stained with dirt, chili and even more cotton candy.
Behind the pavilion, tons of smoking pits sat among the trees, surrounded by the Go Texan Blazin’ Saddles BBQ Cook-Off participants.
Then hundreds of members of the teams gathered around to see if their chicken, ribs or briskets made the grade.
The PBR “Bee Xtreme” Professional Bull Riding drew a massive audience that filled the stands and cheered and howled the night away as the bull riders gripped the rope strapped around the bulls and attempted the eight-second ride.
Getting access behind the gates made the event even more nerve-wracking.
Watching the bull riders prepare and psych themselves up and climb on to the huge mass of angry horned muscle, you realized it was something you’d have to be slightly insane to do.
Though the attendance for the concert wasn’t as big as many had hoped, even with the crowd reaching a couple of hundred fans, it was the ones who didn’t attend who got left out.
“Everyone that played the pavilion and rodeo arena were fantastic,” Jamey Haws, the event music coordinator, said.
“It all went great. The turnout wasn’t what we expected, but the feedback I got was amazing.
“I couldn’t even walk around without people stopping me and giving me compliments.”
Pake Rossi, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Hayes Carll performed with explosive enthusiasm.
The diverse crowd of young and old, rednecks and hippies, cheered, danced and sang along the entire night.
Haws continued, “I didn’t want to pigeonhole any one group and the show appealed to a lot of different people.
“The ones who saw the show were amazed.
“Almost every single person there said it was the best Western Week concert ever.”
And, being there firsthand, there was little room for argument.
After the crowd shuffled out of the rodeo arena and the rides’ lights flickered off, it was clear that no matter how worn out the crowds were that night, come next year they’ll be lined up and ready for another exciting Western Week filled with fun under the hot Texas sun and dancing underneath the cool night skies.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.