A Texas tradition: Trail rides kick off in Houston outskirts just ahead of the Rodeo

It’s that time of year again. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is approaching, and trail rides are underway in outlying areas surrounding Houston. 

For more than 50 years, trail rides have been a sacred Texas tradition drawing people from all walks of life together. Cowboys and cowgirls on horseback, in wagons, and parading through highways and trails throughout the Houston area.

Trail rides started in 1952 with about 80 people participating. Today more than 3,000 riders saddle up from all over. Once the trail ride is finished, people settle in at campsites where the eating, drinking and socializing keeps on going. 

"You can go to any campsite and people are willing to share their resources with you and that’s what I love," said long-time trail rider Dwight Boykins. 

Organizers tell FOX 26 you’ll never see the kind of food that is put together on these trail rides anywhere else. 

There are at least 10 groups that host daily trail rides in numerous outskirts and areas. 

Alex Prince, the Southwest trail boss whose been participating in these events for at least 50 years, says families, children and people of all ages are welcome to come and experience these trail rides. And he says for young African American children, there’s a history lesson attached just in time for Black History Month. 

 "We support youth and education. They’re not aware of the first African American cowboy and what happened with settling the west and building communities," Prince said. 

For more information about the time and locations of all the rides, click here.