What will a San Antonian do for a free breakfast taco? Anything. Including waking up at 4:30 in the morning, fighting traffic in the dark cold with nothing but flour tortillas and aluminum foil to keep their hands warm. The Cowboy Breakfast has been the unofficial annual rodeo kick-off event since 1979, when it began as a way to send cowboys heading to the rodeo with a good belly full of hot breakfast. The event has grown over 38 years, attracting an average 30,000 hungry attendees, but it keeps the same core belief in mind: free breakfast makes people happy and that’s something worth traveling for.
Since this was my first time, I really had no idea what to expect outside of hype being generated my entire life. My older sisters made the early morning trek from Helotes every year during high school, but skipping class for the love of the almighty sausage potato and egg taco for the price of nada always mystified me. I mean, I love tacos just as much as any right minded individual, I just never saw the hook of it. Now I kind of do understand the phenomenon of the Cowboy Breakfast, it’s almost a rite-of-passage for a local, a once-a-year expedition for hot coffee, live music, and never-ending breakfast items. If you’re on the Atkins diet thankfully for you the tortilla basically serves as a plate for your plump sausage, but good luck finding a fork. Also, an ice chest full of chorizo was also a first for me.
There were plenty of sponsors and volunteers on hand to serve hungry event attendees. The event’s proceeds fund scholarships for students in the St. Phillip’s College’s Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Department. The Cowboy Breakfast Foundation presented a check in July for $15,000, which provided 17 student scholarships.
The goal for today’s event was to break a Guinness World Record for “most tacos served.” I’m not a Guinness official but I think they got this one, considering this entire city just got it’s taco fix.
Here’s the menu in case you’re interested in counting calories
– 20,000 servings of Picante Sauce
– 15,000 cups of McDonalds coffee
– 12,000 Kiolbassa chorizo & egg tacos
– 10,000 tamales
– 10,000 sausage and egg tacos
– 10,000 BBQ beef tacos
– 8,000 sausage biscuits
– 8,000 bacon and egg tacos
– 5,000 potato and egg tacos
-5,000 Kiolbassa sausage wraps
-5,000 of milk and orange juice
– 2,500 services of Pioneer biscuits and gravy