HOUSTON -

The countdown to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is on. We're more than a month away from the first show, and tickets for the biggest concert are already sold out.

There are just over 79,000 seats to the George Strait concert at the rodeo. It's why some fans couldn't understand how all of those seats could sell out so quickly the same day they went on sale.

We did some checking to find out exactly what happened.

Rodeo officials said it only took one minute and 57 seconds to sell all of the seats, except scattered singles, to Strait's farewell show. Officials said they discovered only 7,134 of the 79,000 seats were available by the time they went on sale to the public. According to Rodeo folks, 41,000 seats went to season ticket holders, 28,500 went to rodeo volunteers and members of George Strait's fan club and approximately 3,000 remaining seats are being held for suite passes and season tickets not yet sold.

Schafer said Rodeo volunteers were limited to the same four tickets per person as everyone else.

"The term general public has been used in conjunction with the tickets that went on sale at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12," Rodeo Houston's Leroy Schafer wrote in an e-mail. "It is important to note that the Show’s 28,000 volunteers are part of the general public as a whole. They come from every ZIP code in the Houston area. The only thing that differentiates them is that they are active volunteers on one or more of the 100-plus committees here at the Show."

"We have 20 other rodeo performances," said Schafer. "We have some of the top entertainers in the business. We have a lot of tickets left for every one of those performances."

Schafer said the only way to make sure you're getting the lowest price on tickets to those shows is to buy directly from the rodeo box office or from Ticketmaster. Brokers can buy tickets and mark them up four times their face value.

"It's a fact of life that we're in now," said Schafer. "There's no laws against ticket brokering."

He said Rodeo Houston does not intentionally sell tickets to brokers, but it's difficult to stop individuals who buy tickets and then sell them to the brokers.

Another warning from Reliant: It's seems there's a new trend for excited fans to take pictures of their tickets and post them online. Schafer said you're just inviting thieves to steal your seats. All they have to do is take that bar code image from your picture to make their own phony ticket. They can use that to get your seat and you'll be left out in the cold.