HLSR President and CEO Joel Cowley speaks during the behind-the-scenes tour of the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

And that’s all he roped, folks. On Tuesday, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced that CEO and President Joel Cowley is hanging up his spurs, leaving the organization after 15 years to pursue an opportunity in the agricultural industry.  

“While I will remain a lifelong supporter of the Rodeo and its mission of promoting agriculture and supporting education, I will be pursuing an opportunity that has a direct impact on the agricultural industry,” Cowley said in a statement. “In doing so, I hope to provide the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with an even better story to tell about advancements in the critically important field of agriculture.”

Cowley began working for Rodeo Houston in 2005 as the executive director of Agricultural Educational Competitions and Exhibits Division, and was promoted to president and CEO in 2013. His last day with Rodeo Houston is May 22.

Chief Mission Officer Chris Boleman will take over as president and CEO.

But the post won't be unmanned for long; the organization already has a new sheriff in town. Chief Mission Officer Chris Boleman will replace Cowley in the role of Rodeo president and CEO.

Beginning in 2017, Boleman served as executive director of the Agricultural Educational Competitions and Exhibits Division before taking over the role of chief mission officer in August amid the Rodeo's leadership restructuring. Prior to joining the organization, he led Texas 4-H as its state leader for almost a decade. His first day as president and CEO will be May 25.

“When hiring Chris three years ago, it was done with potential succession in mind,” Cowley said. “I can think of no one better to lead this great organization into the future.”

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