The old, yet vibrant culture of the American West is rich with colorful history and tradition. During the first weekend of September, you can experience that heritage with those who have dedicated themselves to preserving and passing it along to folks of all ages. The 13th Annual National Cowboy Symposium and Celebration will take place during the second weekend of September at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center in the beautiful city of the same name. Here, attendees can get a taste of the classic culinary styles of the Old Western era, listen to the songs sung beneath the stars, or even get a hint of history. With so much to do in just a few short days, it would be a shame to miss out! This festival attracts people from across the nation and even the world who have long admired the history of the Wild West while being held in this ever-growing city of the scenic Texas Panhandle.
The festival features a seemingly endless array of various entertainments including cook-offs, displays of both Native and European culture through food, exhibits, shows, merchandise, and musical performances by over 50 musicians including Mary Kaye, Chris Isaacs, Joel Nelson, and many more. During the day, you can enjoy the many rodeo demonstrations, the horse parade, or the reenactment. The performance will take place three times, once Friday and twice on Saturday, and is performed by The Legends of Texas group. These men and women have dedicated themselves to producing phenomenal live plays that focus on the events of the country’s history from 1835 to the early 20th century.
If being indoors suits you a bit more, than you will have your pick of historical exhibits such as a presentation by renown Texas Historian Bill O’Neal and his new book John Chisum, Frontier Cattle King. And you will not want to miss the book reading and signing for Hank the Cow Dog by John Erickson, a successfully published Texan writer known for over 75 books and plays.
Let us not forget that this event is host to one of the oldest chuck wagon gatherings in the country. For those of you who do not know, a chuck wagon gathering is simply a cook-off based on good old country recipes. Chuck wagons were like the food trucks of the old days and would usually be found on ranches or campsites to provide food to everyone who earned their keep. But here at the Cowboy Symposium, tickets purchased will allow you to try the best foods by the best cooks around as they serve you old fashioned recipes with their own twists, from their modern versions of chuck wagons. Every team in the competition will be judged under five divisions including bread, meat, potatoes, dessert, and “Overall High Food Point” while also having their wagon judged for authenticity, cleanliness, and more. Only the most passionate teams get to compete, so you are guaranteed to get some great grub, but tickets for this part of the event are limited so you will want to buy them while you can!