Ask about Bandera, and you will be hard pressed to find someone that has not heard of or been to the town dubbed “The Cowboy Capital of the World.”
That’s amazing when you consider this small Texas town has a population of fewer than 900 people. Bandera/cowboy. It has been that way for many years starting with the well-known “Bandera Stompede.”
The Stompede got started when a letter was sent to then President Harry S. Truman, pointing out that there was a national Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and yet there was no official Cowboy Day.
The letter threatened that, unless the President sanctioned a special “Cowboy Day,” Bandera would “stompede” out of the Union and become the Free State of Bandera.
Well, the president didn’t issue the decree, but that’s just fine, because it gave birth to the famous Stompede, an annual — and very popular — event held the first weekend in May.
Events in Bandera are a great part of what makes our town special. We still have a small community, but we like to share it with the thousands of tourists that want to visit a small town, especially one known as “The Cowboy Capital of the World.” If you want a list of all the happenings in Bandera, you just need to visit www.banderacowboycapital.com and click on events. Here are a few things you can count on between now and the next issue of Heart Beat.
First, be sure to come on a Saturday where you can enjoy the Cowboys on Main. Gunfights are at noon and at 2 p.m. You may also see chuck wagons, horses and a strolling cowboy singer or two. During this quarter of June, July and August, you can catch three really big events that all celebrate the best that Bandera has to offer.
On June 28, get your water shoes and head out to the 17th Annual Bandera Riverfest, the ultimate riverside picnic. The event features a car show, Lonestar Barbecue Society cook-off, a Bandera Idol Competition, a river rodeo, arts and crafts and the famous Anything That Floats Regatta. It also features a watermelon eating and hot dog eating contest. Check it out at www.banderariverfest.com.
On July 4, the Bandera Community Foundation will present a red-white-and blue concert featuring the Almost Patsy Cline Band. The event is at the Western Heritage Cowboy Church, 7146 FM 1283, in Pipe Creek. Doors open at 3 p.m., and advanced tickets can be purchased at Shoe Biz, 301 Main St., in Bandera.
On July 25-26, Bandera’s Frontier Times Museum celebrates the National Day of the American Cowboy. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. July 25 with the inductions to the Texas Hero’s Hall of Honor, complete with a barbecue dinner and entertainment. On July 26, it’s off to the races with the Fastest Horse in Texas Match Races at 2 p.m. at Mansfield Park, which is located three miles from Bandera on Highway 16. The event also features arts and crafts and concludes with a Texas ranch rodeo. For details, visit www.FrontierTimesMuseum.org.
On August 29, Mansfield Park is the site of the weekend-long Celebrate Bandera. Bandera’s premier event features all things western, including the Ridin’ the River Cowboy Church Horseless Ranch Rodeo and Circle of Life Intertribal Powwow, which continues the entire weekend. On August 30, the Cowboy Mounted Shooters start competition at the arena, which continues throughout the day. In town, there are arts and crafts on the Court House lawn, a cowboy breakfast and a dedication of a historic marker honoring Bandera as the start of the famed Western Trail. At 11 a.m. that place on the trail will be honored with a Longhorn Cattle Drive down Main Street, followed by the Celebrate Bandera parade. Later that evening, you can regroup at Mansfield Park for the National Professional Bull Rider’s Challenge, and then sit under the stars and take in the Kings of Western Swing Concert at the Longhorn Saloon, which features a lineup of masters of the western swing genre.
On August 31, Celebrate Bandera gives thanks at the Medina River where the Western Heritage Cowboy Church offers a free cowboy breakfast, awesome gospel music and a sermon by Pastor Cliff. Sunday is packed with more arts and crafts, the conclusion of Native American dance competitions at the Circle of Life Powwow and the finals of the National Professional Bull Rider’s Challenge and special South Texas Bull Fighting Competition.
You’ll need to eat your Wheaties to make through the entire weekend.
For a complete schedule go to www.celebratebandera.com.
Yep, Bandera can certainly entertain. Yee Haw, y’all!