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Tag Archive | "San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo"

Waking Up to Cowboys, Tacos, Biscuits and Coffee


The 38th annual Cowboy Breakfast is already known as the largest free breakfast in the world. But the organizers, under the sponsorship of Jordan Ford, wanted something more this year.

Shoveling the coals

Shoveling the coals

They wanted the event with the most tacos served at one time.

So, the booth volunteers were working overtime Friday morning to get tacos into the hands of the tens of thousands who showed up despite temperatures in the 30s before the sun rose. (Rain, sleet and who knows what all else Mother Nature dishes up won’t keep people from the Cowboy Breakfast, so you can bet a frigid little breeze was no problem.)

According to organizers, the following was going to be served:

–34,000 Mission Foods tortillas

–10,000 Kiolbassa sausage and eggs tacos

–6,000 Kiolbassa chorizo and egg tacos

–2,500 servings of Pioneer Biscuits and Gravy

–8,000 Pioneer biscuits and Kiolbassa Sausage

–10,000 Rudy’s BBQ beef tacos

–10,000 Delicious tamales

–8,000 Mrs. Bairds sweet rolls

–5,000 pints of Oak Farms milk and juice

–15,000 cups of McDonald’s special roast coffee

Also on the menu were plenty of smiles, despite the workload, and an extra dose of goodwill.

The Cowboy Breakfast is also the unofficial start of the rodeo season in San Antonio. The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo gets underway Feb. 11.

Spooning filling into tacos

Spooning filling into tacos

Waiting in line

Waiting in line

Serving up biscuits and gravy

Serving up biscuits and gravy

Warming the tortillas

Warming the tortillas

Who needs coffee?

Who needs coffee?

Prepping the sausage

Prepping the sausage

For many, it's a family outing

For many, it’s a family outing

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Scenes from the Cowboy Breakfast


Crowds fill the parking lot of the Cowboys Dancehall.

Crowds fill the parking lot of the Cowboys Dancehall.

The 37th Cowboy Breakfast drew tens of thousands of people out on a cool but clear Friday morning. The annual event, promoted as the world’s largest cooked breakfast, is always a draw, even when it rains, but in the right weather, the crowd can be fierce. And so, by 5:30 a.m., lines waiting for a free taco or biscuits stretched all the way across the parking lot of the Cowboys Dancehall.

Keeping the coal fires burning so the cooking can continue.

Keeping the coal fires burning so the cooking can continue.

By the end of the event, organizers were planning on having served:

  • 12,000 Kiolbassa Chorizo and egg tacos
  • 10,000 Pruski’s sausage and egg tacos
  • 10,000 Rudy’s BBQ beef tacos
  • 8,000 Pioneer Biscuits and Kiolbassa Sausage
  • 8,000 bacon and egg tacos
  • 5,000 potato and egg tacos
  • 5,000 Kiolbassa Sausage wraps
  • 5,000 pastries from Flowers Baking Company/Buttercrust
  • 5,000 pints Oak Farms milk and orange juice
  • 2,500 servings of Pioneer Biscuits and gravy

No one knows how any cups of coffee McDonald’s would be served or how many Mission Tortillas would be used.

It takes a team to wrap the sausages.

It takes a team to wrap the sausages.

The event is sponsored by Jordan Ford, which provided the vans that transported people from the parking lot at the nearby Rialto movie theater to the breakfast site.

On Thursday, the Cowboy Breakfast showed its appreciation for wounded warriors, their families and support staff by delivering tacos and biscuits and gravy to the Warrior Family Support Center at Brooke Army Medical Center.

How did all this get started? A press release on the event offered a little history: “Paying homage to the trail riders of the Old West, the Cowboy Breakfast began in 1979 with a handful of cooks and grills in the parking lot of Central Park Mall, its home for 23 years, as the sendoff for trail riders beginning the annual trek to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.”

 

That cooler full of taco filling will empty quickly.

That cooler full of taco filling will empty quickly.

A hot cup of coffee and a taco are worth the wait.

A hot cup of coffee is worth the wait.

The action behind the scenes is non-stop.

The action behind the scenes is non-stop.

Warm tacos and a friendly smile to start the day.

Warm tacos and a friendly smiles a great way to start the day.

It's never too early to ride a mechanical bull.

It’s never too early to ride a mechanical bull.

Waiting for the rest of the day to begin.

Waiting for the rest of the day to begin.

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Balmy Breezes Greet 35th Annual Cowboy Breakfast


It takes plenty of effort and attention to cook up taco fillings.

It takes plenty of effort and attention to cook up taco fillings.

You never know what the weather is going to be like for the Cowboy Breakfast. Three years ago, for example, an icy rain slopped down on those darting about the parking lot of the Cowboys Dance Hall.

Measuring eggs for large amounts of tacos.

Measuring eggs for large amounts of tacos.

But, rain or dry, you can guarantee that crowds will show up in the wee hours of the morning to enjoy free tacos, tamales, biscuits and gravy, and an eye-opening cup of coffee or two.

Friday morning’s weather for the 35th annual breakfast, which serves as an unofficial kickoff to stock show and rodeo season, was practically perfect. Temperatures in the low 60s kept things cool and crowds large. Even by 5 a.m., lines had formed for the shuttle buses to carry folks from the nearby Rialto Cinema parking lot to the dance hall at the corner of I-35 and Loop 410.

A souvenir of Cowboy Breakfasts past.

A souvenir of Cowboy Breakfasts past.

But people of all ages weren’t there just for the food. Some waited to get their picture taken with Ronald McDonald or inside an old time jail cell. Live country music filled the air, and Pioneer Flour Mills handed out samples.

Lining up was the order of the morning, no matter what you wanted: a shuttle ride, a photograph, a cup of coffee or a sausage wrap. The extras, though, helped break up any wait. Still, while people were fed quickly, a few lines managed to stretch more than halfway across the parking lot.

The extensive volunteer crews, some of whom worked overnight to prepare the event, helped keep things rolling. Some sliced bacon, others warmed tortillas. Stations were set up for people to stuff sausage patties into biscuits or stuff tortillas with barbecue beef, all in the name of feeding people something good in a quick and efficient manner.

Biscuits and gravy are always welcome.

Biscuits and gravy are always welcome.

Will Thornton of the culinary school at St. Philip’s College was on hand, as he has been for the past 16 years. He brought with him more than 40 volunteers from among the student body, chefs in training who wanted the chance to gain some experience cooking and serving people as quickly as they could.

He was surprised with the turnout, since school has only been in session for one week now. But he sent out an email asking for help, and people just showed up. A few late sleepers (if you could call 5 a.m. late) were supposed to join in as soon they could get there.

All help is welcome at the event, because the event could not run without them, the event’s board of directors has said regularly.

The Cowboy Breakfast’s website ran the following chart of what was expected to be served:

  • Dishing up chorizo and egg tacos.

    Dishing up chorizo and egg tacos.

    10,000 Johnsonville Bratwurst sausage wraps

  • 10,000 Kiolbassa sausage and eggs tacos
  • 6,000 Kiolbassa chorizo and egg tacos
  • 2,500 servings of Pioneer Biscuits and Gravy
  • 8,000 Pioneer Biscuits and Kiolbassa Sausage
  • 2,000 Beef Taquitos and 2000 Chicken Taquitos by Garcia Foods
  • 4,000 Garcia Foods Barbacoa Tacos
  • 10,000 Rudy’s BBQ beef tacos
  • 10,000 Delicious tamales
  • 8,000 Mrs. Baird’s sweet rolls
  • 5,000 pints of Oak Farms milk and orange juice
  • 15,000 cups of McDonald’s special roast coffee
Stuffing sausage wraps.

Stuffing sausage wraps.

 

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