It’s never goodbye, just see ya later as Houston bids farewell to the three-week-long hometown rodeo. After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo returned with expectations that 2022 would be bigger and better, and they accomplished just that. According to HLSR attendance records, The rodeo celebrated with over 2.4 million guests at the fairgrounds this year, setting the second-highest attendance record since 2017.
Country music legend, George Strait, nearly broke his own concert attendance record of 80,108 during his 31st rodeo performance with a total of 79,456 concert-goers. In his rodeo debut for Black Heritage Day and the H-Town Takeover, Bun B and his lineup of special guests amassed an audience of 73,259.
As a charitable organization, the Rodeo’s mission is to promote agriculture by hosting the annual event which not only educates and entertains, but also supports younger generations and provides educational support with added programs and scholarships. During this season, the rodeo committed $22.1 million to Texas youth with $14.1 million to be distributed through scholarships over the summer, $2.4 million in educational program grants, and $472,390 in graduate assistance.
Additionally, the rodeo awarded over $2.14 million in prize winnings to the superstar athletes that participated in events such as bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding and the second-year women’s event, breakaway roping. The livestock and horse show brought in over 34,310 entries and the junior auction sales totaled over $20.4 million.
What could never be understated is, of course, the food. The rodeo celebrated the Gold Buckle Foodie Awards, plus more restaurant additions such as Trill Burgers, courtesy of Bun B, Darlin’s Fried Chicken, and Tad’s Bodacious Burritos. Some of the most popular items purchased during the fest were corn dogs, funnel cakes, turkey legs and you guessed it – those hard-to-resist fried Oreos.
HLSR President and CEO, Chris Boleman, thanked all the donors, volunteers and sponsors who supported them and their mission during this triumphant rodeo season.
“Opening our gates and welcoming fans back in 2022 to celebrate our 90th anniversary has truly been an amazing feeling. Guests from Houston and beyond came out to celebrate this milestone year,” said Boleman.
Although it feels as if we just stepped onto the fairgrounds for opening day, Houstonians cannot wait for next year when we can strap on our cowboy boots and breathe in the carnival air again.
Even though we don’t know what’s to come for next year, 2022 definitely set the bar in its comeback year. Have your boots on standby!