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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Senior INF Rylen Wiggins (2) high fives Senior INF Trinity Cannon (6) before Texas A&Ms game against UTSA on Feb. 25, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
Storm the Beach
February 29, 2024
Senior INF Rylen Wiggins (2) high fives Senior INF Trinity Cannon (6) before Texas A&Ms game against UTSA on Feb. 25, 2024 at Davis Diamond. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
Storm the Beach
February 29, 2024

Brazos Valley celebrates annual Fair and Rodeo

Texas is the state that refuses to forget the spirit of the Old West. As years pass and times change, towns still come together to cheer on the sights of hooves, cowboys and cattle. Texas is the place where rodeos are not just an event, but a celebration of life.

An aeriel view of the Brazos Valley Fair and Rodeo at the Brazos County Expo in Bryan, Texas on Sunday, October 22, 2023. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

An aeriel view of the Brazos Valley Fair and Rodeo at the Brazos County Expo in Bryan, Texas on Sunday, October 22, 2023. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

(Photo by Chris Swann)

Within the fairgrounds, the pulse of the Brazos Valley Fair and Rodeo beats throughout the day. From 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., children and adults alike are flooded by a of rides, shows and petting zoos.

A young fairgoer looks at the hatching chickens in the fair barnyards where farmers showcased their poultry, cattle, sheep, goat and more. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
A young fairgoer looks at the hatching chickens in the fair barnyards where farmers showcased their poultry, cattle, sheep, goat and more. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion) (Photo by Ishika Samant)

Fair and Rodeo Assistant Manager Avery Fisher said the shows have events both unique and familiar to fans of the rodeo:

“There are a lot of fun events that we have planned on our fairway,” Fisher said. “It’s not every day that you get to see sea lions in the Brazos Valley. We have a lumberjack show that’s new this year. Lumberjacks will cut wood and do all kinds of tricks and stuff in the water on wood. The [swifty swine] pig races have always been one of my favorites. Little piglets run around in circles trying to get the next Oreo.”

Children cheer on for their chosen pigs during the Swifty Swine races occurring every hour during the Brazos Valley Fair and Rodeo. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Children cheer on for their chosen pigs during the Swifty Swine races occurring every hour during the Brazos Valley Fair and Rodeo. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion) (Photo by Ishika Samant)

But after the sun sets, the traveling cowboys and cowgirls gather on the mud to perform the main shows of the event. The dangers of the dirt are made aware from silencing prayers across the athletes and audience.

The American Flag is held at the beginning of every rodeo session as the crowd says a prayer and sings the National Anthem. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
The American Flag is held at the beginning of every rodeo session as the crowd says a prayer and sings the National Anthem. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion) (Photo by Ishika Samant)

Team roping came first, where a duo of  cowboys fought a dance to gather the horns and hooves of a steer in the shortest time possible. The anticipation of the gates opening was felt by not only  the cowboys, but  the audience as well. Even the snorts of the horses could be heard as they waited for the bang.

Two rodeo workers herd young steer for the team roping event at the rodeo. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Two rodeo workers herd young steer for the team roping event at the rodeo. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion) (Photo by Ishka Samant)

Barrel racing took the spotlight next, a sport where the unspoken language between rider and horse unfolds. Tana Friar and her equine partner communicating effortlessly in the hustle of the arena.

Tana Friar races down the course during the barrel racing segment of the 2023 Brazos County Fair and Rodeo at the Brazos County Expo in Bryan, Texas on Sunday, October 22, 2023. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)

Bronco riding followed and showed duels between a horse and the horseman. While one showed off the silent language that both understood so perfectly, the other exposed dissimilarity between the horse and the rider. For a perfect eight seconds, the horse did everything it could to dismount the rider upon it. While some riders heard the bell of completion within the chaos,  others had their world filled with mud before that time.

Bronco rider Noah Ware falls off a horse during the second round of the bronco riding competition at the Rodeo on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Bronco rider Noah Ware falls off a horse during the second round of the bronco riding competition at the Rodeo on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion) (Photo by Ishika Samant)

As always, the main event was left for last. The anticipation continued to grow as bull riding was about to begin. Even as the crowd started to roar, the perils of the sport were  in close reach. In the stands, eight seconds meant eight seconds, but behind the gates, the anxiety of eight seconds was felt from the riders to the animal.

Bull rider Cesar Carrillo prays before riding at the second round of the bull riding competition on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Bull rider Cesar Carrillo prays before riding at the second round of the bull riding competition on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion) (Photo by Ishika Samant)

Bull rider Cesar Carillo was one of the last to get on the bulls. The run of the ride felt exhilarating, he said. “It feels nice [to be at the rodeo], but when you ride the bull it feels better, I don’t know how to explain it.”

Rider Luis Escobedo grabs on as the bull fighters keep eye on the ride. Escobedo was unable to complete eight seconds during his Oct. 21 ride. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Rider Luis Escobedo grabs on as the bull fighters keep eye on the ride. Escobedo was unable to complete eight seconds during his Oct. 21 ride. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion) (Photo by Ishika Samant)
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About the Contributor
Chris Swann, Social Media Manager
Chris is a Journalism junior from Winnsboro, TX. Chris serves as the Social Media Manager and a Photographer on The Battalion’s photo desk. Before transferring to A&M in the Fall of 2023, Chris spent two years at Tyler Junior College, where he was Photo and Design editor for their student media, The DrumBeat. He is expected to graduate in May of 2026.
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