They say everything is bigger in Texas, right? Well, on Saturday that cliché was reaffirmed to me as I helped give a tour of cowboy related stuff to a friend visiting from out of town. We saw a few things I’ve seen before and experienced some new adventures I’ve wanted to have.
On Friday, my sister’s and her husband’s friend who came to visit half grew up in Croatia and really wanted to see cowboys, so we planned on taking her to things all about cowboys. They first took her to downtown Dallas to see the cattle drive sculpture by the convention center and a few other things.
The next day I had planned a whole adventure revolving around cowboys. Our itinerary included the world’s largest equestrian sculpture, a cattle drive of Texas longhorns, the world’s largest honky-tonk and more.
The Mustangs of Las Colinas
Our first stop was to the world’s largest sculpture of horses in the city of Irving. I’ve seen them before but don’t really remember that trip. Las Colinas is a master-planned development that really took off in the 80’s. The property was all part of a family ranch. The owner who developed the property wanted a sculpture to honor the location’s heritage with larger-than-life mustangs.
He found an artist who specialized in realistic wildlife sculptures and commissioned him to create what ultimately became nine heroic mustangs running through a stream. The emotion and movement is breathtaking and worth a visit.
In one of the surrounding office buildings, there is a visitor’s center and small museum dedicated to the sculpture and its creator and creation. The museum is free, but donations are accepted. There is a short video about how the horses were made and many examples of the artist’s other works of African animals on display. This is a short adventure worth the visit for anyone in or visiting the area.
Our next destination was in Fort Worth, where they say the west begins. A few miles from downtown are the Fort Worth Stockyards. I’ve shared an adventure I had there before, so I won’t go into much detail about the overall stockyards. We made it in time for the Herd, a group of real Texas longhorns being driven down the street with their horns mere inches from observers. This is a real treat. In addition to the livestock, our friend got pictures with real cowboys and we wandered around to see more of the historic district.
She took her turn riding a mechanical bull and looking through gift shops. But our other big destination was not concerning historic cowboys but modern cowboys at the world’s largest honky-tonk, Billy Bob’s Texas. If you don’t know what a honky-tonk is, you’re probably not from the south. To put it simply, it is a large country western club with live performances, room for dancing and lots of room for drinking.
Honestly, this was my first time in a real honky-tonk. It was pretty impressive. We went before it opened for the evening’s festivities just to look around. In addition to the dance floor, concert hall, billiard’s room, and game room they had a gift shop, wall of fame with artists who had performed there, lots of memorabilia and a bull-riding ring to watch real bull riders on real bulls not the mechanical things.
Billy Bob’s has been host to many renowned artists and it was fun to put our hands in their hand prints on the wall of fame. Among them were Johnny Cash, Rascal Flatts, B.B. King, and my fellow BYU alumnus Dan Truman of Diamond Rio. That night they had Randy Travis on the bill. Unfortunately, we didn’t stick around for the concert. After the stockyards we took a quick trip downtown to the water gardens then headed east toward Dallas.
On our way back to Dallas, we took a spin around the world’s largest domed stadium that is also the largest column-free interior in the world and home to the world’s largest HDTV. Of course this is Cowboys Stadium. Even though I’ve been inside working to take out some sponsor displays for the Super Bowl, I haven’t been on the grand tour. We didn’t get out of the car this time, but in a few weeks I’ll probably go on a tour when my brother and his family come for a visit.
From there we went to the Dallas Temple that, although not as grand as the pioneer-era temples of Utah or the grand edifices in D.C. and San Diego, is beautiful and great for a visit if in Dallas.
After that, we got some Texas BBQ from Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. It’s good BBQ but not great and the portions are not Texas-sized.
Overall, we gave our visitor a great Texas experience with cowboys at the heart of it. I can’t wait for my brother to visit and I can play tour planner again. I love having adventures and helping others have them too.
Remember, adventure is out there so go and have one!