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The 2015 Houston Rodeo was in full swing. Saturday was all about the Finals. Champions were being crowned in all of the classic Rodeo events.
Not only did the champions perform at their highest level, they were rewarded with the grand prize of $50,000! Thanks some great prize money for these cowboys and cowgirls. Lives were being changed with a single check that came because these winners were two tenths a of a second faster than their nearest competitor.
Friends and family were huddled together in the stands cheering on their loved ones until they were hoarse. Tears and hugs were shared all around when the final scores were displayed on the jumbotron. This was the climax of a yearlong season for many of these cowpokes.
Yet, everything paused for a special introduction. In a spontaneous moment of an unplanned introduction, the announcer informed the audience that he had just been informed that a special guest had arrived among them. The cameras trained in on the special couple.
Nothing in the program gave a hint that he would be a special guest. No script had his name on its list. Camera crews were acting serendipitously.
President and Mrs. George H. Bush were in section 110 in the first row, closest to the field. The camera broadcasted their smiles as they pointed at each other and their cheer were sincere and full of joy. The entire stadium was on their feet and applauding with enthusiasm.
I was surrounded by people of all ages. Young adults and retired folks as well were all sharing in a special moment of honoring a man who had led them as their President. Guys were whistling and girls were screaming.
This unplanned moment of tribute was memorable. No one demanded a counter, an explanation or another view. Instead, the announcer chimed in, “Now, there is an honorable man.”
41 was smiling and waving to the appreciative crowd. There was no false humility or arrogance in his countenance. I saw a man who loved the people he once led and an appreciative leader who just enjoyed the moment of being admired and loved by the people of Texas.
That is a rodeo for you. The people here not only love God, they love their country and the people who serve it. If you miss the love of country and the joy of the God who has blessed our country with extraordinary favor, then go to a rodeo and enjoy it all over again.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography