The Houston Rodeo, Past and Present

China Clegg

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The rodeo’s roots come from the early Spanish vaqueros whose skills were later passed on to the American Cowboy. The word “Rodeo” comes from the Spanish word “rodear” meaning, “to surround” or “go around,” used to refer to a pen for cattle at a fair or market. The first rodeo took place in Prescott, Arizona on July 4, 1888. Many other places claim being the site of the first rodeo, however much of our current knowledge of the rodeo comes from Prescott, Arizona.


The shows that predated the Rodeo were Wild West shows. These forms of entertainment were traveling vaudeville performances in the United States and Europe that existed around 1870–1920. They started out as theatrical stage productions featuring stereotypical cowboys and Indians with wild animals from the west. Some productions were based on real events, but most were fictional or sensationalized. 


The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo originally called the Houston Fat Stock Show and Livestock Exposition started in January 1932. James W. Sartwelle, a stockyard manager from Sealy, Texas, invited six businessmen to lunch to discuss the possibility of hosting this new show. The Fat Stock Show was held annually over the next four years, growing to the point where a new venue was needed. The Sam Houston Coliseum was built to accommodate this.

In 1940 musical entertainment was added, Gene Autry became the first nationally recognized entertainer to perform at the show 1942. In 2002 the NRG Stadium was built on the Astrodome grounds. The rodeo marked its last night in the Astrodome on March 3, 2002.

This year’s Rodeo starts on March third and goes until the twenty-second. Some of the most popular attractions include walking through the barns to look at the animals, watching the cowboys compete, going to the concerts afterward and eating fatty fried foods. 

The dates and performers are listed below.


  • Midland Tuesday march 3
  • Willie Nelson Wednesday, March 4
  • Becky G Thursday, March 5
  • Maren Morris Saturday, March 7
  • Ramon Ayala Sunday, March 8
  • Chris Young Monday, March 9
  • NCT 127 Tuesday, March 10
  • Kane Brown Wednesday, March 11
  • Cody Johnson Thursday, March 12
  • Jon Pardi Saturday, March 14
  • Dierks Bentley Sunday, March 15
  • Keith Urban Monday, March 16
  • Gwen Stefani Tuesday, March 17
  • Khalid Wednesday, March 18
  • Chris Stapleton Thursday, March 19
  • Brad Paisley Saturday, March 21
  • Luke Bryan Sunday, March 22