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Thousands Throng to Cowboy Breakfast

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It's time to make the tacos at the annual Cowboy Breakfast.

The Cowboy Breakfast is here. Can rodeo be far behind?

Dishing up biscuits and gravy during the Cowboy Breakfast.

That was on the minds of some this morning, as the 34th annual Cowboy Breakfast got underway at Cowboys Dancehall on Loop 410 near Perrin Beitel Road. Others were talking about how the unseasonably warm weather (a mere 45 degrees at 5 a.m. and no precipitation in sight) had brought them out early to avoid the massive crowds that were expected.

But no matter what time you arrived at the breakfast, there were always long lines for tacos, sausage and biscuits, biscuits and gravy, coffee and milk. Yet the lines moved quickly, so you could get a bit of whatever you wanted, from Johnsonville Brats to sausage and egg tacos, in a matter of minutes.

The lines move quickly despite their length.

The cooks stationed under the large white tents at the east end of the parking lot kept things at a brisk pace as they scrambled eggs with chorizo, sliced biscuits or heated tortillas.

Groups from St. Philip’s College’s culinary school, McDonald’s, Pioneer, Oak Hills and Jordan Ford, among others, formed assembly lines, so dishes were prepared with such haste that people could feed themselves and head back for more — all for free.

Steam rises from a heaping helping of taco fillings.

Will Thornton of St. Philip’s said his crew of chefs in training, about 32 in all, arrived at 2 a.m. Other volunteers have been known to be there all night, to make sure everything runs smoothly.

This year’s event was different from many in recent years at Cowboys because the weather cooperated. No sleet or icy rain, no Arctic blasts of wind driving people to shelter or huddling up as they waited for shuttle buses that moved between Cowboys and the neighboring Rialto cinema parking lot. Instead, the temperatures added to the magnetic pull of the event, which always draws people of all ages.

A number of country music acts filled two stages and provided a break for those who wanted to get in a dance in between tacos.

This year’s event was dedicated to the memory of honorary life chairman Herb Carroll, who died last year.

A hot cup of coffee is welcome at any time.

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