Thousands sign petition to cancel the Houston Rodeo amid growing coronavirus concerns

Rodeo officials say they don’t plan to cancel the event as of yet

File photo.
File photo. (KPRC)

HOUSTON – A few thousand people have signed an online petition calling for the cancellation of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo amid the coronavirus outbreak. The annual festival is March 3 through March 22.

According to local officials, there are 11 coronavirus cases in the Greater Houston area. An additional eight cases are being investigated for possible exposure, while over 100 people are being monitored due to direct contact with those affected.

The petition’s author, who was originally identified as Melissa Veliz, wrote the cancellation of the South by Southwest festival in Austin should be a warning to cancel the Houston Rodeo. At least two international organizations have canceled conferences in Houston due to coronavirus concerns.

“If the risk of (COVID-19) virus is bad enough to cancel SXSW, then it’s bad enough to cancel all other major events, including the Houston Rodeo,” Veliz wrote on her petition. “It would be irresponsible to continue putting lives at risk for the remainder of this event.”

Veliz created the petition Friday under Change.org and might be from Round Rock, though it isn’t immediately clear what motivated her to create the petition.

Dubbed as the largest rodeo in the world, Houston Rodeo attracts millions of people to NRG Park.

However, attendance is down compared to previous years, according to the Houston Rodeo data.

Last year, 325,816 people visited the Houston Rodeo between Day 2 and Day 5. While about 50,000 fewer people have attended the festival this year within the comparable four-day span.


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