The sudden cancellation of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on Wednesday, March 11 sent shockwaves through the local and regional community. Some exhibitors, upon hearing the news, burst into tears when interviewed, such as one young entrant, who told CultureMap news partner, ABC13:
We spent so much time with these animals and thousands of dollars with these animals, and so to [not] get the chance to win back our money, that's devastating, because we're going to be in debt for a long time. That's my college money. So to spend all this time and all this money, it means nothing now.
Rodeo CEO, Joel Cowley, quickly noted during a press conference that rodeo scholarships would be fulfilled this year, meaning millions of dollars would go to deserving students.
But the issue of vendors, many who plan all year for the rodeo and base quarterly survival on the event, still remains. Public concern for exhibitors and vendors even sparked an online petition to keep the rodeo going, boasting more than 23,000 signatures. One local Mexican restaurant chain is giving students who missed out on showing their animals a chance to compete.
Some vendors have already set up a Facebook group that takes shoppers directly to products. To help interested fans support those who are suddenly without their biggest venue, the rodeo has released a spreadsheet containing all affected vendors. Many entries include individual website, Facebook, and Instagram information.
The spreadsheet is divided into shopping and dining, which makes it easy for fans to stock up fashion, leather good, art — and even on foods during this hunker down period.
Interested rodeo fans can also directly donate to the cause on the rodeo’s website, which notes that “donations made will go directly to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Educational Fund, supporting Texas youth and education, including our show exhibitors and scholars.”