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Weather slows turnout for Western Week events
by Paul Gonzales
Oct 23, 2013 | 37 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This cowboy is only a fraction of a second away from being lifted up into the air by a bull during the Lester Meier Pro Rodeo bull riding. The bull riding was a highlight again this year of Western Week at the Expo Center.
This cowboy is only a fraction of a second away from being lifted up into the air by a bull during the Lester Meier Pro Rodeo bull riding. The bull riding was a highlight again this year of Western Week at the Expo Center.
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Western Week 2013 came in with the rain Friday and while it did put a slight damper on the weekend events, it didn’t ruin the festivities for the hundreds of families that came out for the event.

Helen Ashley, one of the event’s coordinators, said about Western Week, “It went really smooth. Having it drizzle all day long on Friday didn’t help so we didn’t have the turnout that we wanted.”

Last year, 42 vendors showed up to sell their wares. The rain seemed to have been an issue this year for the vendors, as there was a lower turnout.

“We ended up with 35 or 36 vendors that showed up. We had a couple that didn’t show because of the rain.”

On Saturday, the sun came out and nearly dried up all the rain.

“The numbers were down, even on Saturday with it being beautiful. I guess people thought it was still too muddy, which it was.”

But that didn’t stop the shouts of laughter erupting from the carnival grounds. The water bubbles and rock climbing wall had lines that grew as the day went on.

Tiny boots clamored and shuffled away from the snake handler as he lay down with his pet reptiles, and both children and adults alike stared in awe at magician Paul Gallagher’s massive bag of tricks.

In the back of the pavilion, past the vendors and the beer booth, was something noticeably different. There were a lot of empty slots available in the designated cooking team spots.

A space that is usually packed to near capacity seemed a bit under-filled.

“Last year we had 56. We had 60 teams call [this year] and said they were going to come but with the rain we ended up with 43 teams,” Ashley said.

With all the large trucks pulling trailers that were getting stuck in the thick mud, the weather may have very well been the reason.

The bands hit the large, raised stage which was placed on asphalt a couple hundred yards from the fair.

One almost wishes the bands could’ve played smack dab in the middle of the carnival as they used to in the old days, when you could find Hank Williams or Johnny Cash playing for the festival goers. You could walk around with your children and enjoy the music without having to walk all the way to the back of the pavilion.

The concert pavilion just seemed a bit too far from civilization; but toward the end of the evening, the lawn chairs came out as the night air began to chill and more people showed up to see the show.

“Everyone enjoyed the music. We had people still there until almost 1 a.m.,” Ashley said.

The committee will meet in a few weeks to begin work on next year’s Western Week Celebration, and perhaps work out some of the set-backs they experienced this year.

“Everybody seemed to have fun, and that’s the main thing,” Ashley said.

“Have fun and enjoy yourself.”

Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.
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