Step back in time this Labor Day Weekend as Bandera, Cowboy Capital of the World will be transformed into a town of yesteryear, celebrating the Cowboys and Indians who tamed the Texas countryside. This small, classic Old West town, with its honky-tonks, cowboy culture, surrounding dude ranches, and horse-friendly hitching posts, will turn back the clock to the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s, bringing back old-fashioned cattle drives, rodeo skills, Native American Indians, and Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, all in celebration of Bandera’s 159th birthday!
Bandera, located just northwest of San Antonio in the heart of the Hill Country, has become synonymous with cowboy culture. As a matter of fact, that culture is what makes Bandera a tourist destination and a leader in tourism in Texas. Bandera does not just celebrate the cowboy way of life-Bandera lives it, with its Old West charm and many locals who are still living the cowboy way; tipping their cowboy hats to the ladies, riding their horses and occasionally their buggies to town, and merchants providing watering troughs for those that do.
Celebrate Bandera features a cattle drive down Main Street; they were a major part of the town’s history Bandera was one of the major staging areas for the thousands of herds—totaling more than six million head of longhorn cattle—that were driven up the Great Western Trail to markets in Kansas and Nebraska during the late 1800s. Celebrate Bandera remembers and honors those cowboys who gave us such a rich heritage. Witness our signature event, “Wanna be a Cowboy?” on Labor Day Weekend. You can be a cowboy in Bandera!
Celebrate Bandera takes all things Cowboy and Indian and rolls it all into one spectacular weekend, bringing the old world into the new!
Beginning on Thursday, August 30 in the evening, make a stop at the Pahaska TeePee Ranch and be prepared for some really fast action by the Cowboy Capital Mounted Shooters as they ride in high-speed horse competitions. Riders will be using real single-action six shooters and lever-action or repeating rifles in the 2 stage Eliminator/Rifle Competition. Action starts at 7:00 pm and there is a small admission. Friday night the competition gets serious with the 4-stage Pistol match starting at 6:30 pm. They will be shooting blanks with a range of approximately 15 feet—even though the bullets aren’t real, the thrills are!
Mansfield Park is the place to be on Friday night for the younger set, so bring the kids down for a chance to participate in the Hoof-n-Foot Horseless Ranch Rodeo, sponsored by the Ridin’ the River Cowboy Church. This event is fun for the whole family and includes learning real cowboy skills and creative teamwork to boot. And if you’re lucky, you might even get the chance to dress a goat!
There is nothing that says Old West like a cattle drive, and boy howdy! What a sight Bandera’s Main Street is on Saturday morning! Around 11:00 am, folks gather for the Longhorn Cattle Drive when the Bandera Cattle Company will ‘Head ‘em up and move ‘em out!’ exhibiting how it was done in the good old days. The Celebrate Bandera Annual Parade immediately follows, with more cowboys and horses than you can imagine. Afterwards, you will want to check out the wares around town and visit the arts and crafts on the Courthouse lawn. There will be all kinds of cowboys on Main Street all day Saturday and Sunday, with performances by the Bandera Cattle Company. For those five-years-old and younger, Mutton Bustin’ will be the desired entertainment – how long can you hold on?
Returning to Mansfield Park Saturday night, you can go back to the Old West and experience Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. It’s all there, with fast-action stagecoach attacks; World Champion gun twirler, Pistol Packin Paula; World Champion Trick Roper, Kevin Fitzpatrick; and a showcase of Cowboy Mounted Shooters. Then get ready for the “Hottest Eight Seconds of the Year” at the Ancira GMC National Professional Bull Rider’s Challenge. Action galore! Late Saturday evening you can take your pick of music venues that feature great country swing in the “Kings of Western Swing” Concert Series. You and your partner can two-step your way through town!
Our Celebrate Bandera festival would be incomplete without honoring Native Americans, a group that has had as much a part of paving our path as Cowboys did. In that spirit, Celebrate Bandera proudly presents the Circle of Life Inter-tribal Powwow, which includes Native American dancers from all over the U.S. Gates open Friday evening. Featured events include dance competitions; exhibition performances by an internationally known Hoop Dancer, Lyndon Alec; and special Hand and Drum and flute demonstrations.
At the Powwow, you can visit the camps of Mountain Men, Buffalo Soldiers, and the 1800 Pioneer Camps. Powwows have always been an integral part of Native American history. This year we will “Honor our Ancestors” by gathering together and celebrating our nation’s multi-cultural legacy. The Circle of Life Powwow is a place to enjoy the company of old friends and meet new ones.
On Sunday morning, the Western Heritage Cowboy Church will host a Cowboy Breakfast for all who gather at the Medina River in City Park, followed by some great preaching and cowboy gospel music. There will also be gospel music at the Courthouse, as well as the Arts and Craft Show and a lot more of the Bandera Cattle Company.
Don’t miss the final performances at the Circle of Life Powwow and the finals of the National Professional Bull Rider’s Challenge as well as another round of great music at the “Kings of Western Swing” Concert Series.
Celebrate Bandera is all about Cowboys and Indians – come live it with us. For event schedules and ticket information, go to celebratebandera.com, or call 830-796-4447.