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Top 10 Things To See And Do At The Houston Rodeo

Picture of Rachel Sobylya
Updated: 9 February 2017
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo at NRG Park draws huge crowds and lasts for approximately one month. People from all over the world travel to Houston to watch and compete in the events and shows. Many people think the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is only about roping and riding, but there is really so much more.  Here are the top ten reasons to attend this year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.


The Bull Riding

Perhaps the most infamous event associated with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the bull riding.  This competition is an intense event, involves high risk of injury to the riders, and happens in front of a live audience. In this event, riders must grip a rope and try to hold on for eight seconds. However, just holding on for eight seconds does not guarantee a rider victory.  The judges also score riders on the ferocity of the bull and how difficult it was for the rider to stay mounted the duration of the ride.

The Horse Shows

Another crowd-drawing feature of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the large number of horse shows and competitions.  The horse shows vary in style, breed, and competition.  For example, the Cutting Horse Show determines how well a rider and horse are able to herd cattle in the arena, and the Cowboy Mounted Shooting World Championship Show showcases a rider’s ability to shoot a target while riding a horse at full speed.  On the other hand, the Paint Horse and Quarter Horse Shows are judged by the color, health, and physical ability of a particular breed of horse.

The Livestock Shows

Bulls and horses are a huge part of the Houston Rodeo, but the livestock shows are just as important to the event’s success.  The livestock show includes an array of livestock displayed for judges seeking to find the animals that most ideally fit their breed description.  Competitors from all over the world bring their livestock in hopes of winning a grand prize.  Chickens, turkeys, pigs, goats, lambs, alpacas, rabbits, sheep dogs, and of course all kinds of cattle are displayed at the show.  There are hundreds of species and breeds to view while attending the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The Racing

Chuck wagon and barrel racing are two more of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s most exciting events.  Chuck wagon racing involves a team of horses pulling a wagon while running full speed in an attempt to beat the competing teams.  Barrel racing also is also an intense competition, but this event only allows female participants.  Ladies saddle their horses and guide them around barrels placed throughout the arena ground as quickly as possible.  The women are racing against each other’s times. Both events involve high-speed chases and the chance of becoming a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo legend.

The Food

Texas is known for its barbecue, and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo provides the perfect venue for local vendors to parade their finest brisket, pulled pork, and special sauces.  There is an annual World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Cookoff where competitors attempt to woo the judges and crowd with their unique barbecue aromas and recipes.  The tickets for this event also include admission to the carnival. For people planning on attending the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo outside this event, there are permanent vendors that sell these coveted, southern style bar-b-que dishes the entirety of the rodeo.

The Wine

That’s right, the wine.  The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is actually a wine lover’s paradise.  The show has an event called Rodeo Uncorked where winemakers bring their finest wines for rodeo patrons to sample and enjoy.  This event includes a wine garden where guests can learn about and sample award-winning wines from the international wine competition winners. The Rodeo Uncorked attractions are included with general NRG Park admission or Rodeo ticket, and the award winners’ wines are available for purchase by the glass or bottle.

The Music

There is no better time in Houston to enjoy a variety of concerts than at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.  The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo hosts musicians from different backgrounds and genres for the duration of the event. Performers include Jason Derulo, Kenny Chesney, Little Big Town, Pitbull, Miranda Lambert, Kid Rock, Brad Paisley, and many more.  Attendees can watch household names and rising stars perform on the NRG Park big stage.

Value Wednesday

There are so many exciting shows and concerts to see at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo that choosing a day to attend can be difficult. Fortunately, patrons can take advantage of Value Wednesdays. Value Wednesdays occur every Wednesday for the duration of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and tickets are only $10. Value Wednesdays also offer deals for surrounding attractions such as discounts on merchandise, kids country carnival rides, and at participating vendor booths. These low admission deals also allow guests to attend the event more than once without breaking their budgets.

The History

People often get caught up in the excitement of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, but it is important to remember that this event has a long, proud history. It was established in 1931, the first show opened in 1932, and the event officially adopted the title of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 1961. The show has contributed thousands of dollars to schools, research, and the Houston community. Attending the show is exciting, but it’s also a chance to glimpse into Houston’s long, Western history.

The Community and Heritage

Houstonians welcome the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with open arms, and their commitment to the event and to preserving its history and heritage is evident. The event hosts special days, setting aside a day to honor various groups of people.  These days include Armed Forces Appreciation Day, a Go Tejano Day, a Black Heritage Day, a Go Texan Day (a day to encourage local participation in preserving Texas and Western culture), and a First Responders Day.  The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo also hosts a parade at the beginning of the event, showcasing the pride of various organizations and groups.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, 3 NRG Park Houston, TX, USA +1 832 667 1000