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Ask 2: When was the first Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo?

The worlds' largest rodeo at the Houston astrodome.
The worlds' largest rodeo at the Houston astrodome. ((Photo by Greg Smith/Corbis via Getty Images))


HOUSTON, TexasAt 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: When was the first Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo?

The short answer: The event began in 1932.

The long answer: The Houston Livestock and Rodeo as Houstonians know it got its start nearly 90 years ago as the city’s first big livestock show.

It all started back in 1931, at the Texas State Hotel, now known as the Club Quarters Hotel. There, a group of businessmen and cattlemen convened to figure out how to grow the region’s cattle industry. Despite two million cattle in the area, Houston ranked 37th among livestock markets. Their solution? Yup, you guessed it: A livestock show. And so the Houston Fat Stock Show and Livestock Exposition was born

The first show, held in Sam Houston Hall in 1932, lured some 2,000 attendees with free barbecue and impromptu rough-and-ready rodeos. The Grand Champion Steer, exhibited by Texas A&M College, sold for a whopping $504. All in all, the week-long event lost around $2,800.

Since then, the show has grown into one of the world’s largest livestock shows and rodeos. Last year’s event attracted more than 2.5 million visitors alone. Fun fact: In 2019, rodeo guests consumed about 6,000 lbs of kettle corn.

Visit the show’s website for more information on this year’s festivities and to purchase tickets.

Do you have a burning H-Town-related question? Send it our way, and we will try to hunt down an answer.

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