Kealia Ohai named grand marshal of 2020 Houston Rodeo Parade

Kealia Ohai

HOUSTON – Soccer star and J.J. Watt fiancee Kealia Ohai is the grand marshal of the 2020 Houston Rodeo Parade, officials announced Wednesday.

Based on the tweet, the Houston Dash player took riding lessons to take on the parade duties on horseback.

“I am so excited and honored to be the grand marshal and a part of this amazing celebration,” Ohai is quoted saying in a news release from the Dash.

The Dash captain will be the first women’s soccer player to serve in the prestigious role at the annual event, which has kicked off the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo season since 1938.

“We are thrilled to have Kealia Ohai help us kick off another great year at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo,” said Joel Cowley, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo president and CEO. “Her tremendous leadership and love for the city of Houston can be seen on and off the field, and it is an honor to have her leading our 2020 Downtown Rodeo Parade.”

The 2020 Downtown Rodeo Parade will be held Saturday, Feb. 29 at 10 a.m. The parade route begins at the intersection of Bagby and Walker Streets, and travels from Travis to Bell, and from Bell to Louisiana, before turning on Lamar and ending at Lamar and Bagby Street.

Ohai, 27, has become a visible member of the Houston sports community since joining the Dash as the club’s first-ever draft pick, the second overall in the 2014 NWSL College Draft. The Utah native has served as the team’s captain since 2016 and is the club’s all-time leading scorer with 28 goals.

The Houston Dash, led by head coach James Clarkson, are the city’s only female professional sports team and are expected to kick off their 2020 season in mid-April.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.