Life-timers, newbies enjoy the trail ride to the rodeo

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HOUSTON, TX – Hundreds of animals come into the world during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo each year, but that’s not all — humans do too.

Kelli Braunagel has been part of the of the Valley Lodge Trail Ride Association tradition every year since she was born 18 years ago.

“My mom went into labor at the Farmen Ranch Club on our main ride,” says Braunagel. “She ate crawfish that night, got a phone call to my dad and said get your butt to the hospital. This ride is my family; I couldn’t go on with just one less person.  They’ve all taken their part in raising me and teaching me what I know.”

Then there’s the trail ride newby. Marte Vaage, is an exchange student from Norway, a first time cowgirl, “Everyone is walking around with hats and boots and it’s like the movies. It’s really cool.”

To most of us in H-Town, it’s not an unusual sight; but many still don’t really grasp the trail riders kinship.

“The trail ride is family, that’s what it means every day to all of us,” explains Kaye Fulton with the Valley Lodge Trail Ride Association. “We may not see each other all year long. We come together for the trail ride.”

The ride of a lifetime, year after year, for first timers or life-timers.