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Big-time clout: Houston Rodeo earns a Walt Disney World level Facebook honor

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Rodeo Houston cowboy riding a bucking horse
RodeoHouston was rank no. 10 on Facebook's Top Check-Ins list for 2013. RodeoHouston/Facebook
Disneyland with Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck
Disneyland in sunny southern California took the top slot. Disneyland.disney.go.com
Times Square in New York City
NYC's Times Square ranked no. 2. Photo by Terabass/Wikipedia
Rodeo Houston cowboy riding a bucking horse
Disneyland with Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck
Times Square in New York City

Anyone who sat through Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's Harlem Shake video in February and March knows the annual extravaganza was keyed into social media this year . . . Well, it turns out those efforts paid off.

According to Facebook, the rodeo grounds at Reliant Park were the 10th most checked-in locale in the nation during 2013. To put that into perspective, Disneyland, Times Square and Epcot Center took the top three slots respectively. And not to spark any more Dallas vs. Houston tension, but Rangers Ballpark in Arlington ranked sixth.

Here's the final tally:

  1. Disneyland & Disney California Adventure (Anaheim)
  2. Times Square (New York)
  3. Epcot – Walt Disney World (Lake Buena Vista, Fla.)
  4. Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles)
  5. AT&T Park (San Francisco)
  6. Rangers Ballpark (Arlington)
  7. Universal Studios Hollywood (Universal City, Calif.)
  8. Fenway Park (Boston)
  9. MGM Grand Hotel & Casino (Las Vegas)
  10. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo (Houston)

With more than 300,000 Facebook fans and a record-shattering 2.5 million visitors, Rodeo Houston organizers made sure not to miss any opportunity to engage with smartphone users, COO and marketing head Leroy Shafer tells the Houston Business Journal.

The big screens at Reliant Stadium encouraged attendees to text pictures and messages during rodeo events, while special "social stations" throughout exhibit areas offered free sunglasses and koozies to those checking-in on Facebook and following Rodeo Houston on Twitter.

Shafer says that 15 percent of his team's marketing budget is directed to digital advertising and engagement, including a full-time social media staffer who tweets and posts throughout the year.

Check out Facebook's special 2013 Year in Review site for more details and rankings from around the world.

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