Friday 16th March 2012.... The day before the first part of the conference starts.
Jennifer and I slept in a bit, but at least we slept through which shows that we were getting slotted into the Houston time zone. We had breakfast in the hotel before we were picked up by Jennifer's friend and taken to their house.
After getting the grand tour of the house and going out for lunch down at the local "China Town" area. We returned to the house for a while to relax. While I was there, Jennifer's friend's husband showed me his gun collection.
Firearms ranging from handguns to an air rifle to assault rifles and an automatic shotgun.
Well, this is Texas. I did have an offer to go down to the shooting range to try out the handguns, but there was just no time that we could work into the schedule while I was in town. If you think you know what each of the guns are, post a comment with your answers.
Then it was off to the Rodeo at Reliant Stadium. The Rodeo Houston 2012 Super Series is run over the end of February and the first half of March. There were 5 Super Series rodeos (each one with 3 rounds over 3 days), the top four competitors for each event from the five super series go through to the semi finals. The top four competitors from each semi final go straight through to the final. The remaining six competitors from the semi finals get one more chance with a Wild Card competition. The top two from each event in the Wild Card also get into the final. Hopefully that makes sense. So we got to go to the Wild Card competition with competitors doing their best to get into the final being held the next day.
Huge banner on the side of the stadium
The Rodeo itself was only part of the experience with Country Fair and Livestock Show running during the day.
Small part of the Fair taken from the chair lift ride
As we walked towards the stadium, we heard some really loud music coming from an amazing car audio system. It was unusual enough that I thought I would show you. This is what a Hummer gets up to when not being used in a war zone.
US Marines and their pimped out Hummer
Outside the stadium. Note the walking ramp up to the higher levels
While walking to my seat, I heard someone call my name. I turned around to meet Rob Kirkey and Michael Marosa. Many moons ago Rob was the manager of the Australian office for Great Plains and Michael was with Professional Advantage and recently moved to work with Renown.
Rob Kirkey and Michael Marosa
I fly half way around the world and meet people I know at a rodeo. Sadly, I did not get much time to chat as the event had already started and we needed to get to our seats. The view from the seats give some idea of the size of the stadium.
Inside the Reliant Stadium
The Rodeo consisted of many events with some examples from the main ones shown below:
Saddle Bronc Riding
Mutton Bustin' (for kids)
While there is lots of skill and physical strength shown by the competitors, I still think they are all mad. But it was great fun to watch and luckily the few injuries that occurred were all minor.
So the rodeo was over for the day, but the event still had more to come. The staff were super efficient and built a rotating stage in the middle of the stadium.
Building the stage
We then had the pleasure of enjoying a concert by the Californian band "Train". They played all their hits including Drops of Jupiter, Hey Soul Sister, Save Me San Francisco, If It's Love and Drive By.
Train in concert
During the concert I sent my eldest son, Aaron, a text message telling him how much I was enjoying the concert and he was not amused (his reply said "I hate you :-)"). He has still not forgiven me for going to see 3OH!3 and Nelly in Fargo at the last Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference without him.
The final topic for this post has to do with food. There was so much food available at the rodeo and the fair it was unbelievable. It is not just the variety of food, but the scale it is produced on and the weirdness of some of the dishes.
Yes, I was definitely in Texas, USA.