2013 Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
February 25th - March 17th

Article by Susan K. Williams
Photography by George Hosek

On a busy day on Houston’s freeways, hordes of cowboys on horseback, wagons and trailers converge on the city during the month of February.

Many of these riders have traveled hundreds of miles to reach their final destination. They ride from far West Texas, Louisiana, south Texas and all parts in between. Their horses tired and worn after days on the trail – the cowboys, spent and saddle sore celebrate as they set up camp in Memorial Park just off 610 in the heart of the city’s uptown area.

Houston is known as the oil capital of the world – it also is known as the medical capital of the world, but during February and March, Houston is known as the cowboy capital of the world with cowboys and cowgirls coming to compete at the world’s largest and richest rodeo.

But this isn’t your ordinary rodeo – no sirree….. this rodeo makes a difference in the lives of youth across the state of Texas. From Amarillo to Brownsville, Houston to El Paso, the youth of this state receive the benefits of this unique event.

Once known as the Fat Stock Show and Rodeo, today this event is known as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the largest and richest rodeo in the nation.


2013  HOUSTON RODEO Concert Schedule

February 25 - Toby Keith

February 26 - Gary Allen

February 27 - Alan Jackson

 February 28 - Zac Brown band

March 1 - Mary J Blige

March 2 - Brantley Gilbert

March 3 - Lady Antebellum

March 6 - Dierks Bentley

March 7 - Bruno Mars

March 8 - Tim McGraw

March 11 - Jason Aldean

March 12 - Kenny Chesney

March 13 - Jake Ownes

March 14 - Pitbull

March 15 - Blake Shelton

March 16 - Luke Bryan

What began in the 1930s as a fat stock show, a show with cattle, swine, horses and other livestock that was built to increase agricultural trade in the Houston area grew to an event that has no comparison.

So, why do those cowboys and cowgirls ride for miles to come to Houston? Each trail ride has a purpose – of course, they mainly have fun – but, at the end of the day, they ride for the kids – for the youth of Texas and to keep our Western heritage alive and well.

For more than 75 years, Show has been the heartbeat of the Southwest, beating powerfully with approximately 19,000 volunteers who annually contribute their time, resources and talent as part of the world’s largest livestock exhibition, world’s richest regular-season rodeo and the Southwest’s premier entertainment event. Not only does the Show have a tremendous impact on education and the youth of Texas, it also is considered an economic driver for the Houston region.

Economically, the Show generates more than $345 million in business and revenue in the Houston Metropolitan area.

More than 400,000 hotel room nights are booked, and in excess of 1.8 million meals are served to visitors and exhibitors to the Show every year. Each year, the Show starts its annual three weeks of events with trail rides from around the state. The weekend prior to the actual “rodeo” begins with a huge parade in downtown Houston.

The first parade was held in 1938 when it was decided that the parade should be “the pomp and ceremony of a Roman holiday.” Led by mounted police escorts, the parade line-up included state, county and city officials, two bands, a drum and bugle corps, as well as special VIP guests on horseback.

Today, the parade is filled with horses and wagons from the many trail rides, giant balloons, local celebrities, dignitaries, rodeo clowns, marching bands and decorated floats with a Western theme. Each float vies for coveted awards, including theme, sweepstakes, president’s choice, and grand prizes.

Starting the parade is the annual ConocoPhillips 10K race and 5K fun run! More than 7,000 runners from around the globe participate. And, ConocoPhillips has contributed, through fees for the run, more than $1.8 million to the Show’s educational efforts.

After the race and the parade it’s off to the World’s Championship Barbecue contest! Three days of cooking, eating and dancing. The waft of simmering brisket or roasting chicken covers the Houston air, gently urging the 190,913 guests who joined the feast in 2007.

Trophies are awarded to teams preparing the best dish in each category (brisket, chicken, pork and spare ribs) as well as an overall winner.

Awards also are presented to the most colorful team, the team with the cleanest area, the most unique pit and the Go Texan teams for best barbecue and most colorful team.

Yes sirree……… the sweet smell of mesquite on the pit, the cool brew in the ice chest and the delectable morsels of beef, chicken and ribs is enough to make a visitor to this event holler YEE HAW!!

And, of course, the Show would not be THE Show without the first-class entertainment rodeo-goers come to see each year. Such notables as Charlie Pride, Reba McIntyre, George Strait (who has performed at the Show for 18 years!), Elvis Presley, and of course, the first star entertainer for the Show – Gene Autry! Last year, 2007, Reliant Stadium set new attendance records with the performance by Hannah Montana, who of course is coming back for the 2008 Show!

What could be more fun than a carnival for when the ropin’, ridin’, bronc bustin’ and singin’ is over? There’s a ride for every age kid in the family, from the littlest cowpokes to the “remember when” crowd, there’s something for everyone! Why, there’s even a milking parlor for those who want to try their hand at milking ol’ Bessie, or pig races – you’d run too if your treat was Oreo cookies and milk!!

Especially for the youngsters, the Show presents AgVenture – where you can watch live egg hatching, spinning and weaving demonstrations, live bee hives, and milking demonstrations. Children can get up close and personal with all kinds of barnyard animals in the petting zoos.

And did we mention the “RODEO”? Ranked as the world’s largest rodeo, RodeoHouston invites only the top cowboys and cowgirls in the sport to compete. In fact, our arena, Reliant Stadium, is the only stadium of its kind built specifically for both rodeo and football. During the 2007 Show, champion cowboys and cowgirls competed for a total rodeo purse of $1.275 million.

On Tuesday, March 18, 2008 40 of the PRCA’s top bull riders from around the country and Canada will compete for a total purse of $75,000 riding 52 of the roughest, meanest, nastiest tempered bulls around during the RodeoHouston Xtreme Bulls event. You won’t want to miss this one!!

Where else but in the great state of Texas, in the fourth largest city in the country – Houston – will you find an entertainment venue dedicated to the education of our youth?

Where else will you find that rich, vital Western heritage still alive and well? Where else can you eat, play, enjoy good art, watch a performance, see some of the most outstanding athletes – both human and animal – vie for top honors, ride a roller coaster or Ferris wheel and do some great shopping? All in one place? It’s all here, every year, during the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo event.

So, grab your darlin’, throw on your hat, boots and spurs, and come on down……… we’ll have the gates open!!

For more information… and there’s a whole lot more……. Visit The Official Houston Rodeo Website


Parking Information -  use at your own risk

Drop-Off Location

Public drop-off and pick up for patrons accessing Reliant Park for the Show should access the Blue Day Lot 19 through the Westridge entrance from Kirby. Vehicles will only be allowed a short time to stage, and no vehicles will be allowed to be parked, or they will be towed at owner’s expense.

Ride the Rail to the Rodeo

For $1 each way or a $2 day pass, ride the METRORail to and from the Reliant Park Station with special Show hours so you don’t miss any of the fun. Park at METRO’s Fannin South Park & Ride lot (Fannin at West Belfort) for just $7 or at one of several parking locations along the rail line for an additional fee and take METRORail for just $2 roundtrip.

Purchase a $2 Day Pass and avoid the ticket line on your return.


The last southbound train departs Reliant Park Station at 1:10 a.m., Sunday – Thursday, and at 2:35 a.m., Friday and Saturday. The last northbound train departs Reliant Park Station at midnight, Sunday – Thursday, and at 1:25 a.m., Friday and Saturday.

For more information, call METROLine at (713) 635-4000.


Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 20070
Houston, TX 77225-0070

Physical Address
Reliant Center
8334 Fannin Street
Houston, Texas 77054

Hours of Operation:
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday

Offices closed: Dec. 22 - 26, 2006 and Jan. 1, 2007

Phone: 832.667.1000
Fax: 832.667.1134

E-mail: questions@rodeohouston.com

Event Calendar

Daily Livestock Schedule

Auctions & Sales Schedule

Livestock Show Auctions & Sales Schedule

2012 Horse Show Schedule & Draws




Houston Metro
Metropolitan Transit Authority Of Harris County Texas

Route and Schedule Information

Houston Metro-Rail Information

Houston Metro-Rail Map

Houston Texas has a massively diverse economy, from shipping to manufacturing, banking and finance, all going on within this most welcoming of Texas cities.

Of course, first-time visitors want to know what to do. Well, there’s Hermann Park and the Theater District just for starters.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Grant and Scholarship Information

Since the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization, was established, it has made an impressive footprint on the livestock and entertainment industries and in the sport of rodeo.

It also has played a notable role in enhancing the lives of thousands of young people in the state of Texas. Each year nearly 2,000 Texas students receive scholarships to further their education. The Show annually contributes more than $10 million to help Texas kids go to school. The first rodeo scholarship, $2,000, was given to Ben Dickerson in 1957.

Since then, the Show has given more than $120 million in scholarships to the youth of Texas. Beginning this year, the Show will contribute $15,000 per student per year toward higher education.

A wide variety of scholarships are available for Texas youth. Among the opportunities are Area Go Texan scholarships that are available in 60 counties across the state that participate in the Show’s educational outreach. Students involved in 4-H are eligible for 70 yearly scholarships, and there are 70 FFA scholarships for students involved in that program. Ten more scholarships are awarded through FCCLA or the Texas Association, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

The Show also awards 209 Metropolitan Scholarships to outstanding students graduating from Houston-area public school districts in Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller Counties, 100 Opportunity Scholarships for students from certain school districts in the above counties, 15 School Art Scholarships, assistantships to graduate students in agriculture pursuing master's degrees at selected state universities, eight scholarships for students pursuing doctor of veterinary medicine degrees at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and four scholarships for students enrolled in the Texas Christian University Ranch Management Program.

The Show provides grants and funding to these initiatives as well:

· Museum of Western Art summer workshops

· Eisenhower Leadership Program

· Glassell School Art summer workshops

· Prairie View A&M Leadership Lab

· Quality Counts Program through Texas    Cooperative Extension

· State 4-H Congress and Leadership Conference

· State FFA Leadership Conference

· Texas High School Aerospace Scholars Program

· Educational outreach programs for the Alley Theatre, Houston Grand Opera and the Houston Symphony 

One of the great educational success stories of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the RITE Program. The Rodeo Institute for Teacher Excellence was founded in 1997 by the Show to address reading problems of at-risk children and high dropout rates in Houston area schools.

The program grew from six elementary schools to 28 schools in the 2004-2005 school year. Today, RITE touches lives of children in 400 plus classrooms addressing the reading needs for more than 10,000 children. Since its inception, RITE has helped nearly 40,000 children learn to read at or above grade level.



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