LASSO IT UP

3 small-town Texas rodeos just a gallop from Houston

West of the Pecos Rodeo. West of the Pecos Rodeo/Facebook

This article originally appeared on CultureMap and was written by Cindy Brzostowski.

Football may seem like the lifeblood of Texas, but it's surprisingly not actually the official state sport. In fact, that honor goes to rodeo. When spring rolls around, over 2 million people head to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

While that big-time event has come and gone for 2019, but small towns around the state are lassoing up their own rodeos for the summer season. Break out those boots and take a road trip to one of these lesser-known rodeos.

Mesquite Championship Rodeo — 3.5 hours from Houston
What better place to enjoy the fun of rodeo than in the Rodeo Capital of Texas itself? That would be Mesquite, Texas, just 20 minutes east of Dallas. The Mesquite Championship Rodeo at the Mesquite Arena runs June 1-August 24 and kicks off opening day with musical guest Mark Chesnutt. Every Saturday there's an interactive fan experience from 6-7 pm and then a different event at 7:30 pm. Spectators will get the chance to see competitors from around the country compete in bull riding, steer wrestling, bareback bronc riding, saddleback bronc riding, barrel racing, tie-down roping, and team roping. Then, the whole rodeo wraps up with a close-out concert by Clay Walker.

Nearby attractions: While you're enjoying the state's rodeo capital, consider embracing another one of Mesquite's titles as a designated Tree City USA by the National Arbor Foundation with a trip to Trinity Forest Adventure Park. The park is less than 15 minutes from the rodeo and gives visitors the chance to tackle high ropes courses and obstacles of varying difficulty levels amid the treetops.

Big Spring Cowboy Reunion and Rodeo — 7 hours from Houston
Located between Midland and Abilene is the city of Big Spring, which holds its annual rodeo June 20-22 this year. The events include bareback bronc riding, barrels, bull riding, calf roping, mutton bustin', saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, and team roping. On top of the rodeo sport festivities, you can catch Jason Boland & the Stragglers perform on Friday evening and Wade Bowen on Saturday night.

Nearby attractions: Big Spring has two local museums: Heritage Museum of Big Spring and Hangar 25 Air Museum. The former is all about the local history of the city, as well as West Texas. The latter is in a restored World War II hangar and showcases the history of the Big Spring Army Air Force Bombardier School and Webb Air Force Base, where thousands of pilots were trained.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about the West of the Pecos Rodeo.

Here's a look at what happened in the Lone Star State and with LSU

Saturday NCAA Football Recap: Tough losses plague Texas teams in Week 12; LSU remains undefeated

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Memphis 45, Houston 27

Houston quarterback Clayton Tune burst up the middle for a 68-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. That was the most memorable offensive play of the game for the Cougars. Memphis quarterback Brady White threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another score and No. 18 Memphis overcame a 10-point first-quarter deficit to beat the pants off Houston 45-27 on Saturday. Tune was 14-of-22 for 157 yards with one touchdown for the Cougars. "I think we ran out of gas with four minutes to go in the second quarter," Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said. Houston started off strong but was held to just 113 yards of total offense in the final three quarters. The Cougars got into the red zone and settled for field goals twice. Memphis finished with nine tackles for loss and three sacks. Houston is at Tulsa on Saturday.

LSU 58, Mississippi 37

Joe "Superman" Burrow was unbelievably good against Ole Miss on Saturday night. The Heisman front-runner completed 32 of 42 passes, threw for a career-best 489 yards and five touchdowns, and the top-ranked Tigers rolled past Mississippi 58-37. LSU built an early lead, scoring on four of its first five possessions to jump out to a 28-0 lead over the Rebels. "It wasn't pretty, but we did it after a big win last week," LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. "We came in here to win a football game and we won by 21 points. We're 10-0 and I'm very proud of that." At one point, Burrow completed 17 consecutive passes to set a school record, passing Rohan Davey's 2001 single-season school record for yards passing. Sophomore receiver Ja'Marr Chase snagged touchdown passes of 34, 51, and 61 yards for 227 total yards for LSU. "We dug ourselves too deep a hole," Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said. "We had a chance to get it to a one possession game, but we never could get there." Ole Miss freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee finished with 212 yards rushing, a school quarterback record, three touchdowns and was 9 of 16 passing for 123 yards. LSU hosts Arkansas on Saturday.

Iowa State 23, Texas 21

Connor Assalley drilled a 36-yarder as time expired and Iowa State beat No. 22 Texas 23-21 on Saturday. Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy had 354 yards passing and two touchdowns, and he led the Cyclones 63 yards in three minutes to set up the field goal of Assalley's life. "They continue to fight when I think everyone has written us off at times," Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. "Our kids just keep playing." Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger had 273 yards and three touchdowns for the Longhorns. Ehlinger gave Texas a 21-20 lead with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Epps with 5:37 to go. But the Cyclones stuffed the Longhorns on their next possession. "Obviously a really, really poor performance by our offense the first two quarters," Texas coach Tom Herman said. "Not being able to run the ball the way we thought we would be able to was the biggest difference." Texas plays at Baylor on Saturday.

Oklahoma 34, Baylor 31

Boomer Sooner. Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts threw four touchdown passes and Gabe Brkic booted a 31-yard field goal with 1:45 left to cap the Sooner's wild 34-31 comeback victory over Baylor on Saturday. Although the Sooners were without star receiver Cee Dee Lamb, Hurts was 30-of-42 passing for 297 yards, all of his touchdowns coming after Baylor took a 28-3 lead early in the second quarter. The loss snaps Baylor's 11-game win streak leaving No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson as the only undefeated FBS teams. Baylor hosts No. 19 Texas on Saturday.

TCU 33, Texas State 31

After squandering multiple 17-point leads in the first half, Jonathan Song won TCU the battle for bowl eligibility on a 20-yarder with 5:38 left to play. TCU quarterback Max Duggan accounted for 323 yards and all three touchdowns, helping the Horned Frogs to a 33-31 win over Big 12 rival Texas Tech. TCU's Vernon Scott forced a fumble by McLane Mannix on Tech's final possession. The Frogs' went into play ranked first in the Big 12 in holding opponents below their total offense average. Texas Tech, which went into the game averaging 478.6 yards, was held to 402. TCU visits Oklahoma on Saturday and Tech hosts Kansas State.

Troy 63, Texas State 27

Troy quarterback Kaleb Barker threw for 363 yards and a school-record six touchdown passes to roll over Texas State 63-27 on Saturday. Texas State quarterback Tyler Vitt was 29-of-44 passing for 263 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted four times.

Rice 31, Middle Tennessee 28

Rice quarterback Tom Stewart threw three touchdowns and Rice beat Middle Tennessee for its first win of the season. Stewart finished 12-of-23 passing for 222 yards.

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