After spending the day in Dallas, it was time to venture West for an hour to Fort Worth Stockyards. Fort Worth is home to the Old West. Where cowboys roam the streets and you can drink all day in the saloons without being judged.
When we arrived the first thing we spotted was a Cattlepen Maze. We’d been talking about trying to find a corn maze to have a go in for a while, so we felt that this was the next best thing. Once we’d paid for our entry fee, we were given a card which was time stamped. The competition was on! As we entered I went right and Barry went left. We had 4 checkpoints to find and each one had a letter stamp so we could punch our cards and spell out MAZE. I was determined to win and when I found two letters almost straight away, I was convinced I was going to.
Along the way there were signs to mislead you or help you out. I quickly learnt that the ‘short cut’ signs were a lie, Barry on the other hand trusted them only to be lead to a dead end. We ran into each other once or twice and got increasingly frustrated when we kept finding ourselves in the same spot. After about 13 minutes, I eventually found the last letter that I wanted, followed by the exit. I was so happy as I made my way out and saw Barry standing on one of the decks looking glum. I cheered myself on, only for Barry to wonder out of the starting point with his completed card already stamped. Nooooo…how could he beat me? He must have cheated. It turned out he only beat me by one minute. As you can imagine, I never heard the end of it.
As we wandered around the town, we saw all sorts of old Wild West buildings – the Fort Worth Stock Exchange, the Coliseum where they hold a rodeo every Saturday night. There were many saloons and tons of shops selling cowboy boots and other ‘must have’ accessories if you’re to survive in the Old West. We of course saw some resident cowboys and the streets were lined with commemorative plaques acknowledging all the famous names from the Western Days.
Shortly before the clock struck 11:30, we made our way down to outside the Stock Exchange. Something special was about to happen. Twice a day, some cowboys & girls would herd cattle of longhorn cows through the town just as they would’ve done back in the day. We found ourselves an opening amongst the hundreds of people that lined the streets and waited for the cows to come home. Suddenly we could hear the sound of cowbells ringing in the distance and then we caught sight of a cowboy leading the way round the corner towards us. He was followed by a large group of the longhorn cows. They were big with 6-foot wide horns. You wouldn’t want to mess with them!
It truly was a sight to behold and another first (and probably last) to tick off the list.
Feeling rather peckish, we decided to get ourselves something to eat in one of the many eateries lining the cobbled streets. We decided on H3. After checking out their menu, I noticed they had spit-roasted pig and just had to try it. So that’s exactly what I ordered, served with Anita’s rice and brown gravy. When it arrived, the meat was piled high. I swear I almost had a whole pig! Barry went for the Barbecue Brisket with coleslaw and baked pork and beans. They were some of the nicest meals we’ve had. The restaurant was of course Wild West themed and it even had saddles for bar stools!
Having got our fix for all things Western, we made our way back to the hotel. But that wasn’t the last of our Cowboy action for the day. That night we headed out to our first American Football game. We were going to watch the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins, in the cowboys multi-million Dollar AT&T Stadium. We were hoping this game would be a lot more exciting than the baseball that we’d seen in Boston. We had been warned previously that the games last forever. Usually around 4 hours with as little as only 11 minutes where the ball is actually in play, so we weren’t sure what to expect.
As we made our way to the stadium, we were amongst thousands of fellow Cowboys fans and the occasional Redskins one. The stadium itself holds over 80,000 people, which is massive. The O2 arena in London only holds 20,000 and I always thought that was a lot! Once we’d walked almost all the way round the stadium to find our seats, we finally walked through the doorway and were greeted by the pitch. Almost every seat was full and I have never, ever seen so many people. These were all hard-core fans and we were probably only two of a handful of people that weren’t wearing some kind of cowboy’s paraphernalia. As soon as the game began, the crowd were going nuts and it stayed like that throughout the entire game. The atmosphere was electric and so much better than baseball or NASCAR race we saw in Illinois. Everyone had been given a little towel to wave around and cheer the team on with. We made sure to put ours to good use, just to fit in with those around us.
The Cowboys had cheerleaders, which even gave a special Halloween performance during half time accompanied by other dance troops.
It was an amazing game, but we decided to leave after 3 ½ hours. We were concerned that if we waited until the end, it would take us hours to get out once the rest of the 80,000 people decide to leave!