03/08/2007 AT 8:15 AM ET
Things didn’t work out between Sheryl Crow and Austin native Lance Armstrong, but the singer is still optimistic about the Lone Star state.
“My sister said I needed to come out here and just say it: I’m looking for a cowboy,” she told a rodeo crowd on Wednesday. “I’m not giving up on Texas – yet.”
Amid cheers at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show, Crow then launched into her hit “Are You Strong Enough to Be My Man.” Mid-way through the song she hollered, “Anybody up for the job?”
The past year has been emotional for the Missouri-born Crow, 45, who split with Armstrong in February and was diagnosed with breast cancer that same month (she has since successfully completed treatment).
“This is a real special night,” she told the crowd on Wednesday, “because this time last year I got diagnosed with breast cancer and we couldn’t come and we were so disappointed.”
Crow cancelled her performance at the 2006 rodeo after undergoing surgery. In a show of support, fellow breast cancer survivor Melissa Etheridge played at the event instead.
Wednesday’s event had a “Paint the Rodeo Pink” theme in honor of the battle against breast cancer. Vendors sold pink cowboy hats with awareness ribbons on the brim – and Crow urged the audience to join the fight.
“We appreciate you wearing your pink,” she said. “I know cowboys don’t normally wear pink – but real cowboys can get away with it.”
Crow entered the rodeo ring on her own horse, a black and white-spotted Tennessee Walking Horse that reared on cue. She rode around the ring waving to the crowd before her horse extended its front left leg and bowed deeply.
“My horse, Lady C, she’s not used to all these spotlights – she’s new in the world of rock and roll,” Crow said when she took the stage, thanking trainers at the Red Horse Ranch. “That was our first rodeo experience with Lady C – one of these days, I’m gonna be paying Lady C to open up for [me].”
Crow played a few songs before making an unexpected announcement. “I’d like to bring Kid Rock out,” she said, prompting excited gasps from the audience. “But he’s just not here tonight, so we’ll have to do this one without him.”
Instead, she sang “Picture,” her duet with Rock, with bass player Tim Smith – and proved she’s no Ashlee Simpson. Forgetting the words to “Soak up the Sun,” Crow quipped: “That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you know it’s live – when you screw up the lyrics. No lip-synching here.”
Afterward, she left the rodeo in suitable style – driving away in a red Mustang convertible.