A Livestock Show and Rodeo Worth Seeing, but So Much More

A saddle bronco riding event at the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

If you love horses, barbecue, and live music, one of the world’s largest livestock shows and rodeos, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, is happening from Feb. 27 to March 18 at NRG Park.

The event, which began in 1932, welcomed more than 2.61 million visitors last year. According to Joel Cowley, the president and chief executive of the event, visiting thegrounds is a fun experience for all, with plenty to offer to people who aren’t traditionally interested in agriculture or rodeo events.

“Anyone from little kids to great-grandparents can have a good time because there is such a diverse lineup of activities,” he said.

Admission to the 300-acre event grounds is $15 per day for adults and $5 for children between the ages of 3 and 12. Admission to the daily rodeo and concert in NRG Stadium, one of the park’s main venues, starts at $18 and includes entry into all other activities on the grounds. Admission is free for children 2 and under.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the show’s website. Here’s a sample of what visitors can look forward to.

Mr. Cowley said that the daily rodeo performances in NRG Stadium, which seats more than 72,000, are the highlight of each day. Over 300 cowboys and cowgirls from around the world compete in a series of rodeo sports including bull riding, where competitors attempt to ride a bull for eight seconds and barrel racing, a speed event where women ride on a horse around a barrel pattern.

The two-hour rodeo performance is followed by a one-hour concert from a notable band or musician. This year, country musicians Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan and the pop band OneRepublic are among the performers.

Each day, all day, NRG Center, a 1.3 million square foot building adjacent to the stadium, will host a livestock show. Visitors can see about a dozen species of animals including cattle, pigs, llamas and sheep, and there’s an area where they can watch chickens hatch and calves, lambs and baby pigs being born.

The building also has a retail area where vendors from around the world sell Western-themed goods such as clothes, boots, jewelry, furniture and art.

NRG Arena will also host several horse shows a day. “These are fast paced events that are thrilling to watch,” Mr. Cowley said. Onlookers can expect multiple events demonstrating each rider’s prowess and the stamina and strength of the horses. One example is mounted shooting, where cowboys and cowgirls ride past balloons lined up on a stick and shoot into them with a blank rifle. The winner is the person who shoots the most number of balloons in the least time.

The event also features a wine garden, which will be open daily. Visitors here will be able to buy small tastes, full glasses and bottles of around 50 wines from around the world and can imbibe while listening to live music performances from local bands.

Always an attraction for children, the carnival, open all-day, has more than 50 rides including an observation wheel, two Ferris wheels and several roller coasters. When you (or the kids) get hungry, hit the many food vendors selling fried foods on a stick such as smoked and fried turkey legs or fried cheesecake.

Several properties in Houston offer packages themed to the livestock and rodeo, ideal for out-of-towners or locals looking to make a vacation out of the event.

Hotel Derek, near the city’s Uptown entertainment district and seven miles from the livestock show and rodeo, has an All Roped In Package inclusive of accommodations, a Southern inspired breakfast, valet parking and a welcome amenity of locally smoked beef jerky and a jar of honey roasted Texas pecans. Prices from $159 a night.

Another option is the Rodeo Houstonian Style package at The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, situated in the heart of the city and about a 20-minute drive from the event; it includes accommodations, two Texas-themed cocktails at the hotel’s bar, a welcome amenity of a charcuterie board, a $50 Uber gift card, valet parking and a boot shine. Prices from $289 a night.

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