Trail Rides mark start of RodeoHouston

HOUSTON – A total of more than 2,000 cowboys and cowgirls are expected to participate in this year’s 11 rodeo trail rides, some of which will travel 100-plus miles to Houston.

February marks the start of rodeo season in Houston, and as part of a beloved annual tradition later this month, thousands of cowboys and cowgirls will begin making their way to the city while riding horses and wagons in a scene straight out of the Old West.

Eleven trail rides associated with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo will commence starting Feb. 16, the rodeo announced Thursday. A total of more than 2,000 trail riders are expected to participate, and they’ll come from rural locations throughout the Southeast Texas region while making overnight stops and traveling more than 100 miles in some cases – with Goliad, the site of an 1836 battle between the Republic of Texas and Mexico, being the most far-flung starting point. This year’s rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 27 to March 17 at NRG Park. The trailriders will gather Feb. 23 at Memorial Park, where an awards ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. The trail ride tradition dates to 1952, when four men traveled from Brenham on horseback to promote the Houston Rodeo, which first was held in 1931. — HPM

Trail Boss: Anthony Bruno

By Jonathan Bruce

ABC13 caught up with trail boss Anthony Bruno live from the trail to talk about the journey and the significance of the historically Black trail ride.

HOUSTON, Texas — Fifty-five riders, 19 wagons, and 111 miles over six days make up the only historically Black trail ride of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

ABC13 caught up with Northeastern Trail Ride trail boss Anthony Bruno live on the trail as the caravan made its way to Memorial Park in Houston on Friday to commemorate the rodeo as part of the 71-year history of the famous trail rides.

“For us to be able to do this every year, it’s an honor and a privilege. We live a millionaire’s dream,” Bruno said from inside a Northeastern wagon as the ride set out on its final stretch of a six-day journey.

Ten trail rides got underway on Sunday to participate in the event’s signature annual tradition.

Bruno is making the journey with a bittersweet heart following the death of his father last year. Bruno’s father, Joseph, cofounded the historically Black Northeastern Trail Ride in 1982 and served as its inaugural trail boss for about 30 years before passing the reins to Anthony.

“This trail ride was founded to introduce people to Black cowboys and Black cowboy history because it hasn’t been fairly documented,” Bruno said. “We are keeping our culture and heritage alive.”