The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is the largest of its kind in the whole world and we’re lucky enough to have it practically in our backyard. For almost the entire month of March, the Rodeo will be in full-swing at NRG Stadium and surrounding areas. This annual event brings two and a half million people to the Houston area and stimulates the economy by over $27 million each year.
Some of the biggest beneficiaries of this event are the children of Texas, to the tune of $430 million since 1957. Youth are involved in all kinds of events leading up to the show, including raising the livestock that will be shown and sold and participating in agricultural studies and contests. Students who demonstrate leadership skills and a good work ethic may be awarded some of the over $14 million in scholarship funds each year. The Rodeo also awards educational program grants to charities and schools that foster the pioneer heritage and culture and further agricultural education.
The Calf Scramble is another way that the Rodeo benefits and educates local youth. Students submit an application, with the approval of their agricultural science teacher or county extension agent, to participate in the Calf Scramble event that happens each night during the Rodeo show. The chosen students, 30 at a time, try to catch one of the 15 calves that are released into the stadium. Those who catch a calf are then awarded $1,750 to purchase a heifer or steer to raise and show at the Rodeo Livestock Show the following year.
Kids who attend the rodeo as visitors can learn all about farm life, livestock, agriculture and so much more from the events and exhibits. Little ones will love the petting zoo and pony rides, and kids of all ages will enjoy the attractions at AGventure, such as the birthing center, milking parlor, and fisheries touch tank. They can also learn about honey bees, horticulture, rainwater conservation, and see baby chicks hatch at the poultry exhibit.
And of course, the Carnival will bring a smile to every kid’s face as they spin away on the Tilt-A-Whirl, race in bumper cars, and scream through the haunted mansion. If they’re not too dizzy and worn out after that, treat them to a funnel cake or deep-fried chocolate covered marshmallow to perk them back up.
So take your kids out to the Rodeo for a day or two, they will not only have a wonderful time but they’ll learn a little something as well.