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.
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.