HOUSTON -

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo COO Leroy Shafer says he will step down in September and take a reduced role at the event he's helped shape over the past 40 years, according to the Houston Business Journal.

Shafer released a statement to the Journal's report that is he is stepping into an emeritus roll in September.

"Today I responded to a reporter's question about me having been at the show for more than 40 years and about how long I would continue working," Shafer said. "I responded that I would remain involved in the show as long as I was physically able to do so -- and I hope that is a long, long time."

Shafer said he plans to step into a manager emeritus status at the end of September when he will turn 70.

"I plan to continue to work with the show in the realm of marketing, presentation, entertainment, crisis management and in any other areas that show officials want my assistance," Shafer said. "I definitely am not going away and I look forward to helping the show continue to succeed in accomplishing it mission of supporting agriculture while benefitting youth and education."