There are a lot of reasons people visit the Stock Show. Some come to show their stock. Some to sell their wares. And many more just to enjoy the food and fun.
But few offer the reason that motivated Les and Abbie Digweed to come all the way from England to attend the event.
“Well it’s our honeymoon, isn’t it?” said Abbie, displaying British sentence structure as charming as her accent. “We show cattle at home, so we just wanted to come over to see how the Americans do it.”
The Digweeds, who exchanged wedding vows in August, asked friends and relatives for travel support in lieu of gifts so they could make their first visit to America.
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“This show is so massive compared to ours. Most of our shows are a quarter this size and only go on for a maximum of three days,” Les said. “And they really encourage the kids here.”
Back home in Chipping Campden — “It’s about 10 miles from Stratford-on-Avon,” Abbie said — the Digweeds raise and show Dexter cattle, a breed not commonly found here.
“They are a dual-purpose breed,” said Abbie, indicating that Dexters have been bred for both dairy and beef production. “But no one milks them anymore.”
The couple have done well with their Dexters.
“Our cow won a national show and was named the best cow in the country,” Les said, proudly displaying a smartphone photo of the champion bovine.
Oddly enough, the cattle-raising Digweeds chose the Stock Show as their honeymoon destination because of a television program about horses.
“We saw a show on [a cable television channel] about Mustang Magic,” said Abbie, referring to an event pairing trainers with wild horses in a competition that has become extremely popular at the Stock Show.
“We couldn’t stop watching it. So we did more research and found there was going to be a Mustang Magic event at this show. So that is what led us to choose this particular one.”
Besides taking in all the sights, sounds and smells at the Stock Show, the Digweeds visited a ranch in Graham, where Les rode a horse for the first time.
“It was amazing. I couldn’t believe how the horses do everything. You just sit there and they do it all. They are so well-trained,” said Les, who described his day job as “groundworks” — “anything to do with digging.”
The Digweeds also went to the Fort Worth Water Gardens, the Stockyards and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.
“We also attended one of the cattle auctions, and they are — again — different. They are so fast and furious,” said Abbie, who operates a florist shop.
New Orleans is next on the Digweeds’ itinerary.
But first there was another stop at the Stock Show.
“I want a corn dog,” Abbie said, sporting a freshly bought brown cowboy hat that fit so naturally it looked as if she had worn it all her life.