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If They Can't Get People to Come to Victory Park, Well, There's Always Cattle

On my commute to work this morning, I noticed something peculiar about Victory Park Plaza. Standing over the dull pavers, corralled Longhorns grazed on a bit of straw, while two men on horseback watched over. Turns out, it was a promotional stunt for the Texas Stampede rodeo scheduled for the AAC November 13 and 14. The money raised will go to Children's Medical Center.

"We brought nine Longhorns this year," said Wes Sander, moving out of the way of his horse while it relieved itself on the plaza. The cattle normally wander his ranch in Woodward, Oklahoma. "We were going to bring more, but the rain flooded the park."

Like last year, this year's promotional "cattle drive" was scheduled to take place at Trammell Crow Park at the Trinity River. But that whole area is under a few feet of water, so Texas Stampede organizers had to improvise.

This isn't the first year the group has had to change their plans due to outside circumstances: The cattle used to run down Main Street -- matter of fact, the "cattle drive" started in 2001 with around 100 longhorns running down Main Street -- but the costs of appeasing the city's increasing safety concerns drove the promotional stunt out of downtown. By 2002, the city required that the group erect parade barricades and hire the Dallas Police Department.

"They wouldn't just let us run it through," recalls Mark Armstrong, a member of the Texas Stampede. "There were a couple that got loose and went into a parking garage." Certainly don't have that problem in Victory Park. No parking garages. No people, either.