Let the Cowboy rock – The Stockyards Championship

When I decided to go to Fort Worth, I was quite sure that I really wanted to go to a Rodeo, since we do not have anything similar in Germany.
Well, my host family made this dream come true and we went to the Stockyards Championship which is the only one year round rodeo in the world. The rodeo takes place every Friday and Saturday at 8:00pm at the historic Cowtown Coliseum.
If you are interested in the „Cowboy Life“, you will love the historic district in Fort Worth, as well as the Rodeo. Maybe you have watched this movie where a girl fell in love with a cowboy who had an accident and blablabla he wins the champoinship etc. etc. etc. endless love etc. – I had the impression, that Rodeos are exactly like that! I really loved it, especially because my host dad told me lost of things about it. I even wore real cowgirl boots and Levi’s shorts and a huge belt, I felt really texan.

Nevertheless, it is very controversial, if some rodeos treat their animals inappropriately. I have to admit that I am not really informed about animal rights concerning rodeos, some people say animals are tortured in order to become really aggressive during the show, other people say these prejudices are completely unrealistic. I came to the point that I think that buckling is a natural instinct, after the horse or the bull has bucked off the cowboy, they are brought back into the stable and get food and water. Consequently, one can argue that the buckling is conditioned and the animal associates buckling with food.
Personally, I am of the opinion that the Stockyards rodeo cannot afford criticism concerning animal cruelty, since the rodeo in Fort Worth is very popular.
To be honest, I don’t know, but I know that I enjoyed these two hours of my life because I enjoyed this „Texas feeling“.

What do you think about rodeos? Do you know anything about rodeos and would you go to the Stockyards Championship?

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Have a nice day,
Sophie

 

 

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Deep in the heart of Texas – The Fort Worth Stock Yards

The stars at night – are big and bright
Deep in the heart of texas.
The prairie sky – is wide and high
Deep in the heart of texas.
The sage in bloom – is like perfume
Deep in the heart of texas.
Reminds me of – the one I love
Deep in the heart of texas.
The cowboys cry – ki-yip-pie-yi
Deep in the heart of texas.
The rabbits rush – around the brush
Deep in the heart of texas.
The coyotes wail – along the trail
Deep in the heart of texas.
The doggies bawl – and bawl and bawl
Deep in the heart of texas.

– George Strait, Deep In The Heart Of Texas

Howdy!

Hope y’all are alright and had a nice week.
Some of you may remember my last Texas post, where I already talked about my time in Fort Worth and picked out the International Leadership Academy as a central theme for my article. Today, I would like to show you some of the photographs I took in the Historic District of Fort Worth, the Stock Yards.

For those who do not know where FW, TX is, it is right next to Dallas:

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Visiting the Stock Yards is like time travelling

When I stepped out of the bus I really felt like I was in the wild West. Although they painted the faces of the buildings to a certain extent, it looked amazingly realistic.
Take your time and wander around the streets, visit the little cute shops, buy some good old Cowboy boots (combined with some nice Levi’s 501 it looks super texan) and enjoy the dry heat. Although it was really hot when I went to Texas (about 100°F/38°C), it was still in my comfort zone, since we had not to deal with humid air at all.

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The Fort Worth Stock Yards Station

Located in the heart of the Stock Yards, you will find this awesome place which offers you great souvenir shops and nice dining places. We went there in the middle of the week and it was not crowded at all, though I guess that it will be very crowded at the weekends. They even have a huge candy shop called „The Candy Barrel“ where you can
Additionally, there is a Beef Jerky Outlet and a record store which I unfortunately have not been able to visit.

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Going to a Rodeo

I know, this sounds a little stereotypical but going to a rodeo was one of the greatest things I did in Fort Worth. I can highly recommend going to the Stockyards Championship Rodeo which takes place every Saturday at 8pm.
I will probably publish a separate post about the rodeo very soon.

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The cattle drive

Something that you should definitely not miss is the twice-daily cattle drive that travels through the Historic District.

„Genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.“

It was amazing to see these beautiful, well treated cows heading down the street with their majestically long and twisted horns. It is an amazing experience and also completely free.

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Stock Yards Museum and Texas Cowboy Hall Of Fame

I really wish I would have had the time to visit the Texas Cowboy Hall and the Stockyards museum. Unfortunately, our time was running out since we only had two hours in the Historic District and we had to wait for our ice cream for like 30minutes.
Well done Sophie! But if you have already stood in line for 10 minutes, you probably won’t leave until you get your damn ice cream – (100°F!!!)
Anyway, the Texas Cowboy Hall Of Fame is known to be really great. You will see old horse-drawn carriages, as well as typical western saddles and other wild West related things. 

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I hope y’all enjoyed reading my second Texas post. Please let me know in the comments if you have ever been to Texas and if yes, what did you enjoy most about your trip?

Stay tuned,
Sophie

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Fort Worth, Texas – Participating in the International Leadership Academy 2016

A year ago I returned home from Fort Worth, where I was a participant at the „International Leadership Academy“ which is an international issues forum where students from 8 countries meet and discuss a certain topic.

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Before the actual program started, we visited the Texas Rangers Baseball Stadium with the Swazis.

These countries are Mexico, Italy, Hungary, China, Japan, Swaziland, Indonesia, Germany and of course, the USA. Only Fort Worth’s sister cities have access to the program.

All the people I got to know are very important to me now. I text them almost everyday and I am very glad that certain social media platforms make it possible for us to stay in touch.

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„ILA“ is a great opportunity to meet people who are highly interested in social activities, politics and international friendships. We had two sessions every day where we worked on the topic „Building a Culture of Health“, which was selected for ILA 2016. Additionally, we did many activities together for example helping at a community center and visiting a center where they collected food for homeless people and families who could not afford groceries. We also went to different malls and to the historical district of Fort Worth which was great! I will later write a blogpost about the city and its sights.

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Me fooling around, unfortunately my friend who took the photo cut my feet off.

Generally, all the friendly, open-minded and caring people- including Facilitators, Delegation Leaders and Program Participants made the program very special and I assume that there is no other program in the world where everyone is so passionate about and engaged in working together.

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The campus is huge! It is like a little student village.

Additionally, I really liked the topic „Building a culture of health“ because I think in course of the globalization which is followed by more work and also stress, it is very important to care about other people’s cultures and about oneself. Also stress should not be underestimated because people have to be healthy in order to deal with it appropriately. Furthermore, it was great to do group activities and especially visiting business companies in Fort Worth. Thus we got a brief insight into their work and how they help society.

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This is the Football field where the Horned Frogs play American Football. We used to go running every morning at 6am and did some stair running in the stadium. We had to go running very early because breakfast was at 8 and we even had 28 degrees in the morning. (38 degrees in the afternoon)

In addition, I had the honor to interview three very inspiring business people with two other boys of the program. I am very glad that I had this opportunity because I learned a lot about these people, about their work-life-balance and how two deal with too much work and stress.
At this point I would like to thank Sister Cities for offering me this great opportunity!

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Me and the „Horned Frog“

We stayed at the TCU (Texas Christian University) Campus for two weeks but we also spent a weekend in a host family. This weekend with my host family was probably the best weekend in my life so far. They were very friendly and hospitable. They brought me to all the great places in- and around Fort Worth. It was great because they introduced me to activities they also like to do at weekends and I was able to do „typical american things“. They planned the weekend and also asked my what I would like to do, for example going to the Kimbell art museum where I was able to see some of my favorite paintings by Piet Mondrian or Michelangelo. We also went to the rodeo which was very exciting for me because we do not have similar things in Germany. Additionally, we went to a Drive-In movie theater which reminded me stereotypically of the movie „Grease“ – it was great! But these were only three of many activities. They were also very interested in German Culture and in my everyday life. There was always something to talk about.

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The entrance to the Football stadium

Participating in the International Leadership Academy was the best decision of my life and these two weeks were the best weeks in my whole life so far. I would appreciate coming back 2018 or 2019 and hopefully one day I can say „I’ve been to all the Sister Cities countries and I was able to meet all my friends there!“!

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They even had a huge food court, a Starbucks and the Recreation Center (Fitness Center with an indoor track field, 3 Basketball fields, a climbing wall, a gym and two swimming pools) on campus. There were also Beach Volley Ball fields in addition to the Football stadium and the Basketball arena.

Looking at these pictures makes me really sad because I really miss the time and all the people I got to know there. I miss the hot sun in Texas, I miss candy shopping, I miss dancing salsa with my Mexican friends in the evening in front of our dorm, I miss having pool parties and swimming with my friends from Swaziland and I really miss my host family. Actually it is really hard to write about this experience because my eyes are almost filled with tears.
But I should not be whining because I am grateful for this experience and furthermore, I will be starting my next adventure very soon!

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Me posing in the heat, 100 degrees Fahrenheit

Have you ever participated in a similar program or have you ever experienced something so great that you actually feel miserable thinking about it because you really miss the the people and the place? Let me know in the comments!

Love,
Sophie