From Houston Public Media:
More than two million people attend the Houston Rodeo each year, making it the biggest event of its kind in the world. Some even arrive on horseback and covered wagon to celebrate Western traditions.
Music, rides and rodeo competitions attract fans throughout the weeks-long event, but one special event brings in the biggest crowds: Go Tejano Day.
In fact, if you take a look at the 10 best-attended days in all rodeo history, over half were specified Go Tejano Days.
The first Go Tejano Day
A group of Mexican-American trail riders were part of the group that created Go Tejano Day.
During weeks-long rides from Reynosa to Houston, using covered wagons and horses, they discussed how the Hispanic community could benefit from the rodeo by creating scholarships for local students.
Marie Arcos was part of those conversations and later served as chair of the Go Tejano Day committee.
But her involvement with the trail riders began long before. Arcos and her siblings grew up meeting these trail riders for camp outs.
“We’d spend the weekend with my grandfather and his trail ride buddies,” she said.
They would eat the traditional trail ride bread, pan de campo, and hang out around the campfire.
“You’d just sit around the campfire, no cell phones, and you just told stories and you connected with people. Both languages were spoken, English and Spanish,” she said.
When she grew older, Arcos was part of efforts to kickstart Go Tejano Day in the late 1980s.
“Go Tejano was created to bring the two together: the “Go Texan” traditions and heritage around the Western cowboy and then merging it along with the traditions of the Mexican vaquero.”