Cowboy Up! It's Time To Rodeo, Houston

  • Cowboys come from around the country for their eight seconds of glory and cash prizes.

    Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Championships

    Houston has always been about more than cowboy hats and horses, but every spring the entire city embraces its western roots, pulls up their boots and gets ready to rodeo. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been called the city’s version of Mardi Gras, and the three-week event never disappoints. From country music and rodeo contests to barbecue and wine, the revelry doesn’t stop until the last wagon rolls out of town March 22.

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

  • Yes, those are horses and covered wagons making their way around Houston. It's the ultimate sign it's time to rodeo.

    Hit the Trail

    Houston runs on four wheels, but in the days leading up to the rodeo, it’s common to see transportation of the four-legged kind ranging across the city. In a nod to the ways of the past when cowboys created trails taking their cattle to major market centers, modern-day riders sojourn to the city on horseback throughout February. Riders travel from Mexico, Louisiana and across Texas, gathering in Houston’s Memorial Park.

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

  • Bragging rights and barbecue go hand-in-hand at the the World's Championship Bar-B-Cue Contest.

    World's Championship Bar-B-Cue

    The hottest ticket in town is to the annual World’s Championship Bar-B-Cue Feb. 26-28. The parking lot on the south side of NRG Stadium becomes a massive ode to smoked meats and country music. Many of the team tents are invite-only, but if you don’t score a golden armband, there’s plenty of barbecue and dancing to do at the Miller Lite Garden, Rockin’ Bar-B-Cue Saloon and the Chuck Wagon. Adult tickets are $15 and children’s tickets are $5.

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

  • Make your way to downtown Houston early for the best view of the parade.

    Downtown Rodeo Parade

    Rodeo action switches from the dirt-floor arena to Houston’s concrete jungle Feb. 28 for the Downtown Rodeo Parade. Floats, marching bands and horses make their way through the city starting at 10 a.m. Want the best view? Stake your claim early along Louisiana Street, from Bell and Lamar Streets and on Lamar Street from Louisiana to Smith Streets.

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

  • Red or white? There's thousands of wines to choose from at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

    International Wine Competition

    Yes, beer and barbecue is a match made in heaven, but around these parts, wine is just as popular. The International Wine Competition draws more than 2,500 wine entries from 43 Texas wineries and 16 different countries. Rodeo-goers can let their palate take flight in the Champion Wine Garden seven days a week during rodeo. Your rodeo ticket gets you into the wine garden and drink tickets are available to purchase for tastings or to buy entire bottles.

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

  • Trace the rodeo's roots at the Ranch Rodeo.

    Ranch Rodeo

    Ranch Rodeo is a precursor to the HLSR and shows just how the Old West was won with serious, fast-paced competition showcasing calf branding with chalk, wild cow milking, bronco riding and pasture doctoring. It’s a more intimate look at ranch life and gives a greater understanding of the current rodeo experience.

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

  • The Houston Livestock Show draws competitors from around Texas.

    Houston Livestock Show

    You can smell the Houston Livestock Show before you see it, but it doesn’t take long for the scent of farm to fade and the animals to take center stage. Old time locals still refer to it as Houston Fat Stock Show, and since its inception in 1932; the show has grown to become the world’s largest livestock show. Broken down to three categories, Junior, Youth and Open Show, the livestock show draws animal exhibitors from across the country. Cows, rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs and llamas are among the animals competing with their owners, but our favorite livestock show destination is maternity ward, where baby farm animals are born and kept with their mother throughout the show.

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

  • Barrel racing is one of the high level competitions on display at the Houston Rodeo.

    Houston Rodeo Competition

    Beyond the music and fireworks, barbecue and carnival rides, the HLSR is about the extremely talented men and women athletes who ride, rope, wrestle and race in hopes of winning cash prizes and titles. After the opening ceremony pageantry, the rodeo gets down to business with a series of competitions including tie-down roping, bareback riding and bull riding. It’s intense and often dangerous work for the cowboys and cowgirls on the dirt of NRG Stadium. Like a little levity with your rodeo? Don’t miss the Calf Scramble where area youth attempt to secure a calf to raise and Mutton Bustin’, where the littlest cowpokes ride mutton, holding on for dear life.

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

  • Country, rock and pop performers take to the rodeo stage. Miranda Lambert performs March 5.

    Houston Rodeo Performers

    After the rodeo action, the lights dim and the rotating stage is pulled onto the NRG stadium floor for the evening’s marquee musical acts. The rodeo is heavy on country music of course, but there’s something for every musical taste throughout the three weeks of rodeo. The 2015 concert schedule includes Miranda Lambert, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, Pitbull, John Legend and Fall Out Boy. The concerts are included in the price of a rodeo ticket.

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

  • Two stepping after sundown at The Hideout.

    The Hideout

    Once the sun sets, the doors open to The Hideout, a tented dance hall open from 6 p.m. to midnight on the east side of NRG Stadium. Live bands play the best of Texas music every night through March 22. Make sure to take your ID though because The Hideout is open to dancers 21 and older.    

    Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

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