HOUSTON - Traditions continued Friday night in Memorial Park, 65 years after the very first trail ride.
"It's camaraderie with everybody in the group," said Jeff Simpson, trail boss for the Texas Independence Trail ride.
The camaraderie is evident, no matter what camp site our cameras went to Friday.
"For us it's been four generations actually," said Daphne Johnson with the Prairie View Trail Ride.
They began their journey in Hempstead.
"My mother was the originator of the club it's kind of just passed down to us," Johnson said.
Aerial photos: Prairie View, Salt Grass trail riders in Houston
All 13 trail rides converged on Memorial Park Friday after they journeyed from all over Texas. On Friday, awards were handed out, and trail riders camped out for one last night before Saturday's big parade downtown.
"We cook together, we do all that together. We're just keeping up the tradition of the western heritage," Simpson said.
Los Vaqueros Trail Ride has the longest trek -- from the valley
"Traveling 386 miles three weeks to Houston is a job," said David Ramirez of Los Vaqueros. "Believe me: there's a lot of work involved."
Ramirez's father is a founder. He still participates but watches his son lead the way.
More than 3,000 riders saddle up. Only four did so back in 1952 when the first trail ride happened.
"All you have to do is have fun," said 7-year-old Grant Cooley.
Grant seems to be learning responsibility from his mother, Shelah.
"We feed and take care of the horses. It teaches them you have to take care of something," Shelah Cooley said.
The parade downtown begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.
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