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Presenter : Zay Harding

East Texas

Fort Worth Cattle DrivePresenter Zay Harding makes his way across the urban and rural landscapes of Eastern Texas and he encounters everything from rootin’ tootin’ cowboys, rodeos and oil, to prisons, guns and rockets, and discovers a dramatic and colourful history.

Zay’s journey starts in ‘cow town, Fort. Worth.  Once a major cattle exchange, these days it is a showcase for the spirit of the Texan cowboy.

Zay’s leaps right in, taking some roping lessons from a former rodeo star Pam Minnick and takes part in the evening’s whip-cracking rodeo show. But no cowboy would be complete without his trusty pistol and Ft. Worth is home to the longest running Gun Show in the State.

Having little experience himself Zay explores the show and learns why Texans are so attached to their firearms but none of the answers are as shocking as his encounter with a tazer display!

JFK assasination - DallasOnwards to Dallas, where Zay experiences a darker side to Texan history by visiting arguably the most famous spot in the city: the scene of President Kennedys assassination.  Zay relives JFK’s final moments with the help of Pearce Allman, a local newsman, who witnessed the tragedy first hand.

No story on East Texas would be complete without mention of that old ‘black gold‘ – Oil! Zay travels to Kilgore, the heart of the East Texas oil boom of the 1930‘s.  This small town was once home to the richest acre in the world and helped to create the oil-rich reputation the state enjoys to this day.

Texas also has a long-standing reputation for tough justice.  Moving south, Zay stops at one of the most fearsome prisons in the State: Huntsville.  Texas executes more people than any other State in the union and all of them occur in the Huntsville State Penitentiary.Texas state penitentiary

Zay explores the sensitive subject by meeting a former warden from the prison’s death house and some newly-released prisoners.

For the final leg of his journey Zay travels to Houstonthe 4th largest city in the US and home to NASAs Johnson Space Centre.  After a tour of its awe-inspiring visitor centre, Zay goes behind the scenes and finds out what astronauts go through when training for their missions into space and meets Astronaut Alan Bean, the 4th man to walk on the moon!

Back on sturdy soil, Zay completes his journey in the tiny town of Chappell Hill where 4th of July celebrations are nothing short of BIG!

Zay joins in the festivities and experiences the infectious nature of the independent spirit this big old State holds dear.

4th of July Parade by Thomas Hawk - Flickr

4th of July Parade by Thomas Hawk – Flickr

Credits

Special thanks to the following companies and individuals  for their support:

Hilton Garden Inn – Fort Worth North
Hilton Garden Inn – El Paso Airport
Hotel Indigo – Houston
Omni Hotels – Austin
Aloft Hotel – Dallas
The Historic Menger Hotel – San Antonio
Ambassador Hotel – Amarillo
Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau
San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau
Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau
Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau
El Paso Convention & Visitors Bureau
Amarillo Convention & Visitors Bureau
Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department – Palo Duro Canyon
Legends of Texas
Six Guns and Shady Ladies
Fort Worth Gun Show
Romantic Remembrances, Dallas
Crocodile Lile
Bowen Ranch, El Paso
Texas Rowing Center, Austin

Places Mentioned - USA

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