The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Dallas is known for its football-loving Cowboys, but Houston is home to the largest gathering of cowboys and cowgirls in the world. If you’ve never been to a livestock show and rodeo, you might as well experience the biggest and best: The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, taking place from 1st – 20th March 2016. The three-week event got its start back in 1932, but now in its 84th year, it’s expected to welcome nearly 2.5 million visitors, a hefty number of fans for any event. Here’s our beginner’s guide to the Houston rodeo.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

More than 2 million visitors descend upon Houston each year for the three-week Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo © Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Old West has come to life ever since 1952, when a trail ride was organised as a way to draw attention to the event. It started with four men, grew to 80 the following year, and today draws more than 3,000 riders. A popular family event since 1938, the rodeo features parades with floats, thousands of horseback riders and marching bands.

 

RodeoHouston

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Barrel racer Britany Diaz shows what she’s made of © Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The rodeo portion of the three-week event is known as RodeoHouston. Events include tie-down roping, bareback riding, team roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bull riding, chuck wagon races, mutton bustin’ and a calf scramble for the kids, among its many wild competitions.

 

Winners are presented on each of the 20 nights in front of an average of 65,000 fans. Champions show up from all over to compete in adrenaline-pumping, often death-defying events in front of cheering crowds for their share of the $2,172,100 (2016) cash prize.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Bull rider Dustin Bowen gets up close and personal with a massive beast © Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Doing good

 

According to its mission statement, The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a charity that “benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation”. Since its beginning in 1932, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has committed more than $400 million to scholarships, research, endowments, calf scramble participants, junior show exhibitors, School Art participants, and other educational youth programmes, further heightening its position as an important Texas institution.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Even children get to showcase their competitive spirit © Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Houston Livestock Show

 

When the Livestock Show began in 1932, it was known as the Houston Fat Stock Show. Today, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the world’s largest livestock show – in 2014 alone, there were more than 29,000 livestock and horse show entries.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Livestock Show welcomes tens of thousands of animals competing in a variety of categories © Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Horse show competitions include the Cowboy Mounted Shooting World Championship Show, the cutting horse show, the donkey and mule show, the paint horse show, the quarter horse show and ranch rodeo, among others.

 

More than just horses and cattle

 

And there’s plenty to keep visitors happy when they’re not in arenas watching rodeo and livestock events. There’s a giant Ferris wheel and other carnival rides at a pop-up Midway, 5K and 10K Rodeo Runs, and the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, just to name a few.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Rodeo Uncorked! features a variety of wine-related events for a palate-pleasing distraction © Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

There are activities for wine lovers to enjoy, too, including an International Wine Competition, a Champion Wine Auction and the Champion Wine Garden for sipping on world-class vintages.

 

Big name music acts

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Superstar concerts featuring big-name, Grammy Award-winning artists throughout the three-week spectacular © Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Over the years, many superstar performers have graced the stage in Houston, starting with Gene Autry. Since his debut as the first big-name act, Charley Pride, Elvis Presley, Roy Rogers, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, and Reba McEntire have also entertained crowds here. This year, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, Pitbull and Miranda Lambert will lead the line-up.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Bronc rider Tyler Corrington takes flight © Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Header image: Bareback rider Caleb Bennett thrills the crowd with his skills © Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

 

Partnering with Delta means we can connect you to numerous destinations across the United States and Canada, bringing the Houston rodeo within easy reach.

 

Have you been to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

 

Written by Steven Lindsey

About Steven Lindsey

Steven Lindsey is a Dallas editor, freelance writer and obsessed lover of travel, food and cocktails. Steven is editor of the Zagat blog in Dallas and Contributing Editor of He Said Magazine's USA and Dallas editions. Additionally, he regularly contributes to The Dallas Morning News special sections.
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