Ask 2: Who was the first big entertainer to perform at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo?

Country and western singer Gene Autry (1907-1998) pictured sitting in a chair playing is guitar, USA, circa 1952. Autry gained fame as 'The Singing Cowboy' on the radio, in movies and on television. (Photo by Columbia Pictures/Archive Photos/Getty Images) (Columbia Pictures, 2010 Getty Images)

HOUSTONAt KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our new Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

The question: Who was the first big entertainer to perform at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo?

The answer: In 1942, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo welcomed its first big entertainer, Gene Autry, America’s great singing cowboy.

Autry went on to perform at the rodeo seven more times: Each year from 1943 through 1945, from 1947 to 1948 and in 1955.

During Houston Rodeo’s early years, Autry also worked behind the scenes to produce the event.

In 1996, 54 years after Autry’s first performance at Rodeo Houston, organizers inducted “The Singing Cowboy” into the Star Trail of Fame, which pays tribute to entertainers that have made an impact on the show. Currently, seven other acts have earned the honor: Alan Jackson, Reba, Charley Pride, Roy Rogers, Elvis Prseley, George Strait, and Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, who share the distinction as Brooks & Dunn. The Star Trail of Fame is located outside the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo offices in the NRG Center.

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About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.