Six months away and my countdown to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo started the day after this year’s ended. I got my best friend Ari excited under false pretenses about a month ago by uttering “OH MY GOSH! RODEO IS ALMOST HERE!!” Her expression was priceless. From sheer elation to “Wait a minute! Rodeo is months away, dumdum!”
Houston is synonymous with the Houston Rodeo. If you’re like me, growing up, all I knew of the Houston Rodeo was the ‘Go Texan’ Day at school and…yah that was about the extent of it. Or if you actually went to the Rodeo it might’ve just been to attend the concert portion. If you showed up a little earlier you might’ve caught some of the rodeo competitions. But man, it’s so, so much more than just a concert. What an undertaking! My brain freezes just thinking about the logistical aspect of the event. Currently, there are more than 27,000 volunteers serving on more than 100 different show committees. Also a large portion of the rodeo’s annual revenues are used for educational advancement in the form of endowments, grants and scholarships. Next year’s educational commitment is to raise $23,062,464. Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! Not to mention how much the Houston economy benefits more and more every year from having such an enormous event. Here’s just a few facts for your eyes taken from rodeohouston.com
BECAUSE THE SHOW EXISTS
- Annual gross sales are increased by $475,403,000.
- Annual gross regional product is increased by $320,221,000.
- Annual personal incomes are raised by $290,710,000.
- 7,265 full-time equivalent jobs are created.
- The local population is increased by 16,316 people
This year was my first time to serve on a rodeo committee. I got the opportunity to join a great one too, the Rodeo Contestant Hospitality Committee. I figured it would be the best ROI since I’ve been going every year faithfully from 2008 when I caught the bug. Those concert tickets can add up and plus, I’m a firm believer that you should find ways to reinvest into causes, organizations and/or people that have left a mark or added value to your world.
In my role, I had a set schedule that took me into the Reliant Stadium for a few hours over the three weeks that the Houston Rodeo was in full swing. Our team’s responsibility was to set up the green room where the Cowboys, Cowgirls and their families hung out. I bonded with my team rather quickly. Since I was their rookie team member for this year, I made sure to be on my best behavior…for the first shift at least! Some of the team members have been around faithfully since The Rodeo was in the Astrodome. Suffice it to say I walked away from every shift with plenty of stories.
One man in particular,”Viper”, told me a rather hilarious story of how he had to go looking for watermelon in March for one of their headliners, Mr. Luther Vandross himself. Since watermelons can’t be found in Texas in spring time, Viper had one shipped from a hot house all the way from Florida. He was so proud of himself for finding a watermelon out of season that he personally delivered it to the artist’s green room. When the show was over and he came back to clean up the room, in Viper’s words, “And I’ll be damned if that watermelon wasn’t sittin’ there whole!”. I’m surrounded by storytellers just like Viper. They love to share and I am their captive audience.
March 17, 2013 was the last day of this year’s rodeo and what a way to end it! Two of my dearest friends and I were like three giddy school girls who had the pleasure of watching the best in the business, the King of Country. Some women and maybe even a few men might argue he’s the sexiest man alive…George Strait. Below are a few snaps from my time spent working and playing at the Houston Livestock SHow and Rodeo.
It was a pleasant and fun experience. I just signed up for my second year and I can’t wait to see my team again! I’m like a kid waiting for Santa ( if I ever believed in him).
Things I learned as a Rookie
1. If you go enough times, you’ll get tired of the food choices.
2. Everyone is assumed to be Republican.
3. 2 things Cowboys and Cowgirls love: Prayer and an open bar.
4. It’s rare but men still tip their hats to women. I think it’s quite awesome and has that old world charm that can catch a girl off guard. You might even “catch the vapors”.
5. You can never have too many pairs of boots.
6. Favorite sayin I’m most likely to steal: “Oh hells’ bells!”
7. Everyone is kind and welcoming even to city/suburb folk like myself that don’t have much of experience with livestock.
I’m sure my second year will be even more eventful than last because I understand the ropes now and I’ll feel more at home! So let the countdown continue!