March 08, 2003
Aussies at the rodeo

We're midway through the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and this year we have some fans who've come a long, long way to take part in the festivities:

The laugh lines around Sue-Ellen Mays' eyes deepened as she smiled and ran down a list of what's near and dear to rural Australians.

"Families, horses, country music and rodeos," said the rancher from New South Wales, Australia. "And the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has it all."

Which is why Mays and seven members of her family scrimped and saved for a year -- during the worst drought to hit the Land Down Under in more than a century -- to attend the rodeo at Reliant Stadium.

They also wanted to see George Strait perform live.

When Mays and her sister, Jennifer Tuttle, learned that their favorite country music legend was opening RodeoHouston, they had to make the 31-hour, roughly 9,000-mile trip to the Bayou City.

"They have a budgie (parakeet) that says 'Hello, George Strait' and 'George, George, Texas,' " said Tuttle, 45.

Now that's devotion. Sounds like they're having themselves a heck of a good time, and they'll even get to see a bit more of the Lone Star State before they head back home.

The families will return home March 21 after traveling around Texas to visit some horse ranches. They probably will stop at some local ice cream parlors, too.

"I would come to America just for the ice cream," Mays said, smiling.

The families explained that while Australia has ice cream, it doesn't have anything as good as Blue Bell.

Funny you should mention Blue Bell. The bidness section of today's Chron happens to have this nice tribute to Lyle Metzdorf, the man who did all of Blue Bell's advertising for over 30 years before dying last year in a fire on his boat. Check it out.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 08, 2003 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack

I love Aussies...they're as close to Texans as I've ever found.

Completely unoriginal, but can we call Texas and Australia the Axis of Beeve(l)? Blerg - more coffee needed.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin on March 10, 2003 7:57 AM