Family affair: Valley Lodge Trail riders continue rodeo tradition with Molina brothers
Cowboys and cowgirls were everywhere as horses and wagons lined the streets near Barker-Cypress Road on Thursday as the Valley Lodge Trail Riders took a break from their nearly 75-mile trek to downtown Houston from Brookshire.
A signature part of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the first trail ride took place in 1952 as a way to increase awareness of the big event. Only four men made their way from Brenham on that inaugural ride; however, they received so much publicity that the following year over 80 signed up.
This year more than 3,000 riders took part on 13 participating trail rides, including Valley Lodge in its 54th year.
The long-running rodeo association between the Valley Lodge Trail Ride and Molina brothers, Ricardo, Roberto and Raul Jr. was forged over 25 years ago.
Hungry from their morning travels, the Valley Lodge Trail Riders tied up their horses and paused for a midday meal. And we’re not talking canned beans over an open fire.
The catered feast included beef and chicken fajitas, rice, beans, queso, guacamole, chips, salsa, mini crispy pork tacos (a Rodeo Uncorked Best Bites winning entry), and grilled sausage. All courtesy of Molina’s Cantina.
The long-running rodeo association between the Valley Lodge Trail Ride and Molina's owners, operators, and brothers, Ricardo, Roberto and Raul Jr. was forged over 25 years ago. The trail bosses were loyal customers at Molina’s Highway 6 location, where the camaraderie began.
“We were asked to cater their Thursday trail ride lunch and we have been doing it ever since,” says Roberto Molina. “It’s a family affair that we all look forward to every year.”
The family ties to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo don't end there. The Molinas have actively supported various rodeo committees, such as Corral Club, Livestock and Breeders Greeters, for three generations. Roberto and Raul also volunteer with the Lil' Rustlers Rodeo, put on for special needs children.
“We love the rodeo and what it represents and are honored to be a part of it at so many levels,” says Roberto Molina.
Funds raised go to granting and/or funding scholarships, educational endowments, agricultural research projects, and other similar programs.