Sunday, July 27, 2008

2 to win on 4

Beer. Horses. Wagering. Live music.

Can it get any better?

If so, someone please tell me.

The Sam Houston Race Park has a summer concert series that is paired with live horse racing. I had been meaning to check out the horse race park anyway, but when I found that my new favorite band Southern rockers Cross Canadian Ragweed was coming to play a show I bought my tickets right away.

So Friday night my friends Tina, John and I met up at the race park for a summer's night of entertainment. Walking up to the horse paddock where the horses are saddled and the jockeys then saddle up brought back some childhood memories of Keenland and historic Churchhill Downs where I first learned the insanity of horse race wagering. I remember my mom's strategies which included live earnings and silks colors. Mom always insisted on betting on horses whose jockey wore purple silks. Real scientific.

My friends were horse race park rookies and needed to be educated. After I quickly refreshed my memory on how to wager by skimming through the program, I share with them my limited knowledge on how to pick a winning horse. The races were short, however, only lasting between 300 and 550 yards. These Texas-bred quarter horses were sprinters. This was a major disappointment. What makes horse racing addicting is the exhilaration of watching your horse battle it out down the straight-aways and around the corners to pull ahead down the final stretch to Win, Place or Show glory. It's the anticipation. The races I witnessed were over just as quickly as they started. It was better than nothing.

The concert stage is on the in-field where more of the partying takes place. Sound familiar? You get there by walking through a tunnel that goes under the track. Along its walls are banners advertising upcoming shows. Dierks Bently and Billy Ray Cyrus stuck out the most as I passed by. Once in the in-field I saw some of the most beautiful women I have ever seen in my life. True blue Texas cowgirls. Cut off jean shorts, cowboy boots, long hair blowing in the gentle summer evening air. I though I had died and gone to cowboy heaven. By this time I had a few beers in me and I had drowned my frustrations and sorrows from the previous work week. It was a Friday night and in the words of Alan Jackson I "was ready for a good time."

In my opinion, Cross Canadian Ragweed is the Lynyrd Skynyrd of my generation. Their sound is the perfect mix of outlaw country and rock. The band utilizes the electric guitar but doesn't over do it. Perfection. CCR rocked out their best jams, or at least the ones that I know. I have to admit I haven't been listening to them very long. My friends and I sat out on the lawn so the music wasn't as loud as I would have preferred but I guess you can't have it all even on a great night of fun. Maybe its my age, a hectic work week or the lack of a truly "fratty" lifestyle, but as the show came to a close I was exhausted.

When I got home at 1am I looked forward to sleeping in.

I woke up at 8am.

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