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Last Saturday, we drove to Bandera (about 2.5 hours by car) to join a yearly celebration of the Cowboy Capital of the World.

The town of Bandera, which is about an hour away from San Antonio, celebrates and displays everything cowboy (and cowgirl) during the Labor Day weekend: cattle drive, longhorns, mounted shooters, rodeos, old cars. Yep, for the Parisian-turned-New-Yorker that I am, it’s really like in the movies!

Bandera was founded around 1853:

The cypress trees that outline the course of the Medina River brought the first permanent settlers to Bandera. A mill that sawed cypress shingles was established here in 1853. In 1855 sixteen Polish families immigrated to Bandera to work at the mill. The polish heritage is evident in much of the town’s architecture. A fine example is the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, second oldest Polish Catholic Church in the U.S.

Bandera’s title, “Cowboy Capital of the World” originated when it became a staging area for the last great cattle drives of the late 1800s. Confirming Bandera as the “Cowboy Capital of the World”, a bronze monument honoring the many National Rodeo Champions who call Bandera home, stands on the Courthouse lawn.

We went to the morning parade and were determined to stay for the wild west show in the evening, but the temperature was really high (I guess we are going to need a little more time to get used to 100s F from 11 am to 7 pm), plus we had 5 hours to kill without anything specific planned (and 2+ more hours to get back home late). So we missed the wild west show, but we will probably try to attend next year.

Here are pictures of the parade, which included a cattle drive with longhorns (the longhorn was named the official state large mammal) and participants in the show that was held in the evening. I have more pictures to show you but this will be for another post or two.

[Click on any picture to enlarge and open the slideshow]