It’s not secret that I love cowboys. I really do. So, when I heard about Bandera, Texas and it’s title as the Cowboy Capital of the World. Of. The. World. I put the car in fifth and pointed myself in that direction. The Cowboy Capital did not disappoint. The place is full of working cowboys. I made sure to get to arrive on Wednesday afternoon in time for Steak Night. Every Wednesday, 11th Street Cowboy Bar hosts live music and they hey fire up huge charcoal grills and you cookout whatever you bring. It’s Texas so I had a huge juicy steak and bought the sides provided by the bar. All the locals show up, so even if you’re a tourist they make you feel like you fit in. You’ll meet all kinds of characters like Hoot who rode from Texas all the way to Calgary on horseback with his friend Mary. You’ll be asked to dance by a guy wearing spurs like this. You’ll meet the owner of the local shooting range and the man who owns the camels and diving donkeys that perform at the weekly rodeo. One nice woman even said a spontaneous prayer over me asking for my safety and an abundance of blessings. I asked her to say it twice for good measure. They’ll invite you to go out with them all night long and when you leave they’ll still be dancing.
I was dying to go trail riding with a cowboy and maybe get a barrel racing lesson. It was super easy to arrange. Twin Elm Guest Ranch hooked me right up. They had me over for breakfast and their morning ride. Mike, working cowboy and ranch wrangler, saddled up Cash Money for me and off we went. The other horses were being beaned (totally awkward) so Cash Money was eager to get out of the barn. Mike was breaking in a new horse and completely in control of the ride. We rode beautiful woodsy trails out in the middle of no where and boots deep into the Medina River. It was around 103 degrees that day so all of us, including Cash Money, were happy to get a our hooves wet. Mike helped me check off barrel racing from my Stretch List even though CM was the one calling the shots and didn’t much feel like running full out around some old barrels. He’s a great horse so I let him off the hook. Mike’s a cowboy charmer for sure. He picked a bouquet of Texas wild flowers for me when we stopped for a water break. We talked about life and what it’s like to have your heart broken by a buckle bunny. Mike likes having a woman in his life but knows you have to start “holding purses and talking dress sizes.” After our ride, he borrowed a cowboy pistol and I grabbed Janie (non of you have asked about her yet) and we did a little target practice with a soda can and two rocks. Janie and I hit the can on the first try. Swear. Then, with Janie between us, we checked on a couple of hog traps. To say I was in heaven would be an understatement. An. Under. Statement.
Thanks for living up to my expectations, Bandera!
Twin Elm Guest Ranch: For $175 or less per night you get the full works— three meals, trail rides, roping, campfires, rodeo, hayrides, cowboys, cowboys, cowboys. It’s a two night minimum but you’ll surely want to stay a lot longer. If you can’t stay overnight they’ll arrange a day of fun for you or you can ride for $35 an hour.
Here’s Cash Money giving ME a barrel racing lesson: