With rodeo season approaching, it seems fitting to showcase a popular local rodeo, one that operates nine months out of the year. Tejas Rodeo Company is owned and operated by DHS 1981 graduate, Trey Martin (first featured in Glimpse in March 2013), and his partner, Yancey James.
Back in 1999, Trey and Yancey formed a company that started out as a boarding stable on Obst Road in Bulverde, then it eventually turned into a venue not only for boarding, but for riding lessons, food, and beverage events. Trey admits that the whole concept was “born out of nostalgia – memories of attending community rodeos as a child – and a desire to not only perpetuate the tradition, but to make it better.”
By making it better, Trey and Yancey sought to improve the entire rodeo experience. They recalled how so many of the weekly rodeos they had attended in the past were either no longer operating or were doing so on a limited basis. They wanted to create a family-friendly environment that would allow up-and-coming contestants to “cut their teeth” in an actual open rodeo where professionals and semi-professionals would compete in a nice facility – a facility that had adequate and clean restrooms, a variety of food options, and live music after the show.
With those goals in mind, Tejas Rodeo Company was born, and their first rodeo was produced in March of 2006. Today, Trey and Yancey feel that they are keeping the Texas heritage of rodeo and western lifestyle alive. They produce over 40 open rodeos, a number of sanctioned CPRA rodeos, youth rodeos, countless ropings, equine clinics, and school events each year.
Opening for that first rodeo event, Trey and Yancey underestimated the overwhelming response. They had advertised in the Cowboy Sports News and put up a few flyers locally. They even found enough contestants to put on the rodeo performance, and they hoped to get a couple hundred spectators to come out and watch. Admission price was only $5 for adults and $3 for children. Well, to their amazement, Trey says that when he and Yancey looked down the county road prior to the event, all they could see, in both directions, were headlights. Lines of cars literally went on for over a mile in each direction! “Build it and they will come.”
The evening did not go smoothly – it was somewhat of a comedy of errors – but all survived and the crowd was entertained. Since then, and throughout the years, countless stories have evolved – some of them harrowing; many just plain entertaining. So, in an effort to preserve these stories, Trey and Yancey have created a manuscript of anecdotes.
One story recorded is of an incident that happened early on. Shortly after that first rodeo, Trey and Yancey decided to add youth rodeos to the mix. The hours leading up to that first youth rodeo can best be described as pure chaos. Being new to the youth rodeo business, Trey and Yancey decided to get a single kid goat for the goat-tying event. Trey shares his story:
This event is where the young cowgirl rides down to the other end of the arena at full speed, dismounts in front of a goat tied to a rope and stake, flanks the goat to the ground, and then ties three legs. The cowgirl that has the quickest time wins this event.
We had the goat in Yancey’s goose neck trailer parked just on the north side of the rodeo arena. We made sure the goat had water and feed in the trailer and checked on him periodically throughout the morning. We were not expecting a lot of contestants for this event, and we figured this single goat should suffice. The youth rodeo did not start until around 1:30 that afternoon, and the goat tying was going to be one fo the first events.
The goat was running free in the trailer, and the only opening was about three feet at the very top of the back trailer gate. Somehow, this kid goat managed to leap up around six feet or so and make it out of the small opening between the trailer gate and the trailer roof. This was our only goat, and we were scheduled to produce this youth rodeo in just a couple of hours. The goat quickly darted through the arena, slipping in between the arena panel piping, and then he ran through the smokehouse area.
Our smokehouse was the only food and beverage facility we had at the time, and it was much smaller than what we have today. Luckily, Yancey and I both had horses saddled, and we quickly pursued the escaping goat. We trotted through the smokehouse and asked the cooks if they had seen a goat. They directed us to the front parking field, and we trotted through the pavilion and dance floor in the direction of the goat. We tried to line the goat out in the front field and rope him, but the goat was too smart for that and quickly crossed the county road and went into the bottom of the Cibolo Creek. Yancey wisely pulled up his horse and figured that I would do the same.
I was riding a two-year-old bucksin colt and decided to go ahead and cross the road to see if I could get an open shot at the kid goat. Again, this was our only goat, and the rodeo was scheduled to start in a couple of hours. While in hot pursuit over river rock and through cedar thickets, the goat, for whatever reason, decided to leave the creek bottom and popped out onto the county road.
The buckskin and I were just a few feet behind him when he popped out onto the county road. We lined him up and closed the gap rather quickly. But just as I was about to throw my rope, the goat made and immediate left turn into the neighbor’s entrance.
A cutting horse purchased out of Leon and Lance Harrell’s cutting barn, the buckskin instinctively tracked that goat into the neighbor’s entrance. Miraculously, the buckskin, although sliding, skidding, and his metal shoes sparking on the pavement, kept his footing and made the turn into the entrance.
But as we were going in, the goat was on his way back out. I threw a desperate loop and was lucky enough to snare the goat around the neck. By the time I reeled that 30-pound kid goat back up to the saddle, I only had him by one leg. I quickly put him across the saddle and rode back to Tejas about an hour before the youth rodeo was scheduled to begin.
Tejas Rodeo Co. is now entering its 13th year of producing a full rodeo every Saturday, March through November. In addition, Tejas owns and operates an on-site steakhouse — Tejas Steakhouse and Saloon — that is open four nights out of the week (Thursday — Sunday) all year long and has its own catering department that can cater on or off site. With a 7500-square foot, climate controlled banquet hall known as Western Sky and four on-site lodges, Tejas can accommodate both weddings and corporate events, producing a number of private, or “convention” rodeos each year for corporate groups.
Tejas now plans on focusing its business model on increasing its yearly corporate sales and weddings in addition to their full rodeo and dance that they produce every Saturday night, nine months out of the year, as they continue to always keep the western heritage alive.