Fans across the Gulf Coast are ready to cowboy up as the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is back in the saddle after a 2021 hiatus. The big, 90th anniversary celebration officially kicks off February 28 and runs through March 20, but this weekend offers a slew of events for locals to get rodeo-ready.
Already, foodies got into the action with the annual Rodeo Uncorked! Best Bites competition. For music fans, plenty of tickets are still available for the month-long concerts; Houston rap icon Bun B just announced new additions to his historic H-Town Takeover on March 11.
Now, Houstonians can grab those hats, boots — and even running shoes — as the rodeo returns with trail rides, cookoffs, parades, and even a fun run. Here’s our roundup of the can’t-miss events.
World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, February 24 – 26
In this smokin’ showdown, presented by Cotton Holdings, more than 250 barbecue teams will face off from Thursday, February 24 through Saturday, February 26. Folk from all over the Lone Star State and the world will compete for champion titles in these categories: Brisket, Ribs, Chicken, Go Texan, and Dutch Oven Dessert, plus the new Open Contest, where teams may enter their dish of choice, except desserts.
Meanwhile, young pitmasters will take part in the Jr. Cook-off Contest and awards starting at 9 am Friday, February 25, showcasing kid chefs between the ages of 8 and 14. The little grillers will prepare a single steak that’s judged on appearance, presentation, tenderness, and taste.
Rodeo Roundup and Go Texan Day: Friday, February 25
Usually held on Tuesday, this year’s Rodeo Roundup has been moved to 11 am to celebrate Go Texan Day. All are invited to attend the free event downtown at Houston City Hall in Hermann Square.
Mayor Sylvester Turner will lead off with a Go Texan Day proclamation, then attendees can chow down on free chopped barbecue sandwiches provided by the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Committee. The event will also feature live music, a chance to snap a photo atop a Texas Longhorn steer, and visit with rodeo volunteers from the more than 100 committees.
Also on Friday, Houstonians everywhere are encouraged to don their best jeans, hats, and boots for Go Texan Day, the city-wide celebration of all things cowboy, rodeo, and Western heritage.
Trail Rides: Friday, February 25
Few things tell the RodeoHouston story more visually than the horses and wagons from 10 trail rides making their way through our city streets. The riders mount up, merge, and camp at Memorial Park before taking part in the Downtown Rodeo Parade on Saturday, February 26. Those who lineup to catch this 70-year-old tradition can also join the awards presentation in Memorial Park at 5 pm.
Rodeo Run, Saturday, February 26, 9:10 am
Taking place before the Downtown Rodeo Parade, the race will kick off with the wheelchair race, followed by the 5K and 10K elite, 10K timed and 5K timed events. Registration is still open to participate; choose to race or the Virtual and Sleep-In option.
Downtown Rodeo Parade: Saturday, February 26, 10 am
Fans gather from across the region for one of the rodeo’s — and Houston’s — most cherished annual traditions. RodeoHouston headliner Cody Johnson will serve as the 2022 Grand Marshal for the parade that boasts vibrant and decorative floats, thousands of horseback riders, and lively marching bands. Plan to arrive early for the best viewing spot.
For a full list of events, activities, and entertainment, visit RodeoHouston online.