Every great city seems to have a signature event: New York City has their annual New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, New Orleans has Mardi Gras, and Houston has the world famous Livestock Show and Rodeo. The event, also known as RodeoHouston, is the world’s largest entertainment and livestock exhibition and an event not to be missed!
Held in Houston's Reliant Stadium, the actual rodeo begins on March 4 and runs through March 23 but there are fun things to see and do beforehand including the Rodeo Run on March 1 which includes events for runners, walkers and wheelchairs. All entry fees go to the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Education Fund. Following the races is the famous Downtown Rodeo Parade where Houston’s bustling city center is transformed into a down-home western celebration complete with horses (including dancing Andalusian horses), wagons, rodeo clowns, marching bands and western themed floats. There are plenty of other cowboy-themed activities too, like the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, a popular 3 day event featuring cooking, judging and eating, Cutting Horse demos, livestock shows and more -- all leading up to the main event.
And that main event is, of course, the rodeo. The show is kicked off with the Grand Entry, followed by the National Anthem Salute, a moving experience as spectators rise and sing while a trick rider carries the American flag around the arena. Then it’s time to witness championship rodeo action at its best! Some of the thrilling events include tie-down roping, bareback riding, steer wrestling and - one of the most popular and dangerous events - bull riding. You can smell the competition in the air (or maybe that's just the manure!)
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is also known for its concert series. Many of the world’s biggest recording artists have played there, including Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson and ZZ Top, to name just a few. This year’s star-studded roster is just as impressive, with Blake Shelton, Selena Gomez, Maroon 5, Usher and Reba among the performers all scheduled to perform.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has something for everyone, not just cowboys. But then again, I believe there’s a little cowboy spirit in all of us Americans (and certainly y'all who live here in Texas!) And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate that than by experiencing The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo!