Say it ain’t so: Rodeo Houston canceled for 2021

HOUSTON – It all started with the cancellation of Rodeo Houston 2020 and now coronavirus has come full circle in the Houston area with the announcement that the 2021 event is no more.

According to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the weeks-long event, which had been rescheduled to May 4 through 23, has been canceled.

Rodeo officials announced that they pulled the plug on competitions, concerts and entertainment, carnival, and other attractions and activities “due to the ongoing health situation.”

RELATED: Houston Rodeo announces $14.1M in scholarships for 2021 educational commitment

“While we were optimistic that moving our Rodeo to May would provide a better opportunity to host our annual community event that Rodeo fans have come to love and expect, unfortunately, it has become evident that the current health situation has not improved to the degree necessary to host our event,” said Chris Boleman, president and CEO of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. “While this is an extremely heartbreaking decision for our Rodeo volunteers and the larger Rodeo community, we believe this decision is in the best interest of the health and well-being of our community.”

According to a news release, the Junior Livestock and Horse Show competitions will still be held in March and the Junior Market Auctions and Champion Wine Auction will also still be held in May, both as private events.

Also canceled for this year are the Downtown Rodeo Parade, Trail Ride activities, Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup & Best Bites Competition, and the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. The Rodeo Run will be held virtually, with more details to come, according to the release.

Mayor Sylvester Turner released a statement on the decision saying he fully supported it.

“The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is one of the most significant events held in Houston every year. It is part of our western heritage, draws guests from around the world, and provides more than a $220 million boost to the local economy and valuable scholarships to young people pursuing higher education. I commend the HLSR for maintaining its commitment to award more than $21 million in scholarships this year to help students attend colleges and universities despite the cancellation. I know that canceling the 2021 Rodeo was a difficult decision for President and CEO Chris Boleman and the thousands of dedicated volunteers, vendors, workers, and competitors who make the show successful. I support their decision and look forward to a bigger Houston Rodeo in 2022.”

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo also released a statement that said:

“I want to commend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for protecting the health and safety of our community. The next few months are crucial to determining if and how fast we’ll be able to reach herd immunity. I know that when it comes to canceling events like this, it’s never easy - particularly when there is so much at stake for local vendors and residents who have come to depend on the rodeo for scholarships, entertainment, and business. The truth is, the smarter we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 now, the faster we can get back to normal, get our economy running at full speed, and again enjoy amazing events like the Rodeo who make us who we are as a county.”

About the Author:

Daniela Sternitzky-Di Napoli has been a digital news editor at KPRC 2 since 2018. She is a published poet and has background in creative writing and journalism. Daniela has covered events like Hurricane Harvey and the Astros World Series win. In her spare time, Daniela is an avid reader and loves to spend time with her two miniature dachshunds.