The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo officially starts February 27, but there are plenty of preliminary celebratory events lined up this week. Things already popped off in downtown Houston on February 20 with Rodeo Roundup, where Mayor Sylvester Turner declared Friday, February 23 Go Texan Day. Touted as “a city-wide celebration of Western heritage,” businesses, organizations, clubs, and schools are encouraged to show some Lone Star love, for a chance to be recognized by the 20-day, livestock-and-rodeo extravaganza.
But there is so much in store ahead of the official RodeoHouston kickoff next week. We've rounded up the best ways to get ready to rodeo this weekend.
World Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, February 22-24
Who's in the mood for some barbecue? For three days straight, 250 barbecue teams will flock to NRG Park and grill like crazy. Yes, teams will be battling it out in several categories: Brisket, Ribs, Chicken, Go Texan, and Dutch Oven Dessert. While some team tents will be invitation-only, visitors can snack on a complimentary sliced brisket plate, complete with chips and beans, from the Chuck Wagon. Everything about this sounds freakin’ beautiful.
Trail rides, February 23
There’s going to be all sorts of hoofing around on Friday, as horses and wagons from 11 trail rides will once again mosey through the city streets. (Apparently, this is a tradition that’s been going on here for more than 65 years.) They will merge and camp one final night at Memorial Park before taking part in the Downtown Rodeo Parade.
Downtown Rodeo Parade, February 24
Now in its 80th year, this parade will once again get everyone in a Western mood. This year’s Grand Marshal is KTRK Channel 13’s veteran news anchor Dave Ward, who has covered the event 49 times. Starting at 10 am, the route will begin at Bagby and Walker streets, go through Travis to Bell streets, then from Bell to Louisiana streets, before turning on Lamar Street and ending at Lamar and Bagby streets. (The most recommended spots to catch the action are on Louisiana Street, from Bell to Lamar streets, and from Louisiana to Smith streets.)
Rodeo Run, February 24
For the more fitness-minded attendees, there's this racing showdown (which will precede the parade), where people can compete in a series of fun runs. It starts at 9:10 am with the wheelchair race, followed by the 10K Timed, 5K Timed, and 5K Untimed events. Of course, if you prefer to give money and not attend, there is also a sleep-in option, where you can donate $30 and call it a day.
Rodeo Uncorked! Champion Wine Auction and Dinner, February 25
This annual event dedicated to Rodeo oenophiles offers a chance to bid on unique wines, lavish trips, and other exquisite items. It starts with a fun cocktail hour, followed by a sumptuous, seated dinner paired with champion wines. The bidding begins after dinner, as folks vie for some of the most interesting wines available. Auction tables (10 seats) are available for $6,000, $9,000, $12,000, and $25,000 — the total table price may be applied toward your live auction bids (and winners can take home items that night). For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.