The South Texas State Fair kicked off Thursday morning with cattle roping and barrel racing. Thousands of kids attended the 24th annual Young Men's Business League Harold Engstrom Memorial Special Kids Day Rodeo.
The cowboys saddled up and roped their cattle and the little eyes that were watching were also imitating. They sat in their seats pretending to be roping cattle. 12News sat with the pre-kindergarten class from Bridge City elementary. The class was there for a field trip.
The young ones showed off their best western attire with cowboys hats, scarves and boots.
"She's loving it. She loves horses and cows. She loves it," says Selinda Black who was there with her daughter.
The kids learns about Texas history in the classroom and carry their lesson to the rodeo.
"We talk about it. We read books about it. But, they don't really know what it is if they haven't seen it," says teacher, Jennifer Weeren.
Kids Day started with the late Judge Harold Engstrom. He was the YMBL president back in 1986 and started the tradition of having kids come to the rodeo on opening day.
"My dad felt that it would be a great opportunity for the children to come out and get to see a show," says Hunter Engstrom, Harold's son.
24 years ago, Judge Engstrom started a legacy that is now trending.
"This was the first one and now there's special kids rodeos all over the country. It all started right here in Beaumont," says Engstrom, "Every year, we come out here and it feels like my dad is still with us."
Harold Engstrom loved to see kids smile and his wish comes true every year at this time when thousands of kids enjoy the show.
Opening ceremonies then began at 5:30. The ribbon cutting was held at 6 and the gates were then opened.
There was a mishap at the fair Thursday night when a cow got loose. 12News was there when the cow quickly took off running through the crowds, through the fairgrounds, through the concessions and into the front parking lot.
Dozens of YMBL volunteers and police officers, on foot and bike, were chasing the cow and finally caught it without any injuries.