One of the signature events in Houston, Texas is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, also known as RodeoHouston or HLSR. Nearly 90 years old and lasting 20 days in early spring, it’s the largest livestock exhibition in the world. It takes more 35,000 volunteers to run it, and so far, its record for attendance is 2,611,176 attendees in 2017. RodeoHouston features everything from footraces to barbecue contests, pig racing, an international wine competition, and, of course, the championship rodeo.
It’s also the seventh largest registered charity in Texas.
Despite the trials of 2020, which included an early closure of the fair and an extremely depressed attendance, RodeoHouston is still committed to its philanthropic goal—supporting youth and education in Texas, and promoting agriculture. The loss of this year’s revenue has forced some difficult choices: it was announced that the 2021 RodeoHouson would cut many of the adult-oriented open shows, focusing instead on the junior-level program. At the same time, HLSR officials approved a financial commitment for 2021 of $21,691,500 to provide more than 800 scholarships for Texas youth. Any further revenue in the year will be distributed among various educational program grants to support schools, educators, and postgraduate studies.
“Despite a heartbreaking early closure in 2020 and the difficult months that followed, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo remained committed to its mission of promoting agriculture and supporting Texas youth and education, and we hope today’s announcement is a bright spot in a challenging year,” said Chris Boleman, president and CEO of RodeoHouston.
“Thanks to the unwavering support from our community, and the resiliency of our dedicated 35,000 volunteers who share a passion for our charitable mission, we are able to reaffirm our promise to the youth of Texas and also lend support to charitable organizations that serve our great community and state.”
Photo: Young people showing steers at the 2019 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Credit: Joseph Davila / Shutterstock.com