The Houston Stock Show and Livestock Exposition began in January of 1931 and the first show was held in April of 1932 at the Democratic Convention Hall. The first downtown parade took place in 1938 and the first entertainer, Gene Autry, takes the stage in 1942.
The first scholarship associated with the Rodeo is a $2,000 award that goes to local product Ben Dickerson. In 1961, the official name of the show is changed to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The Astrodome became the home of the HLSR in 1966 and the attendance tops 40,000 for one of the shows. The 1970’s performance featuring Elvis Presley draws a record 43,614 spectators, a number that would stand for eight years.
In 1992, the four scholarship awards grew from $8,000 to $10,000 and in 1994, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was broadcast for the first time on pay-per-view. In 1996, the HLSR celebrated 30 years in the Astrodome by inviting George Strait to perform. Strait’s performance drew a record-breaking 62,936 spectators and his 2002 performance sold out in less than two hours when 68,266 spectators filed in.
In 2003, the 71st HLSR moved into Reliant Stadium and Reliant Center, a new stadium built for the NFL team. The attendance record was broken on March 17, 2004, when 70,668 people paid to watch rodeo action followed by a concert by country music star Kenny Chesney. Last year, the total attendance record was again broken when 2,144.077 people attended the events.
During the 2010 Tejano Days, the attendance record was again broken as El Trono de Mexico & Pesado lured 141,273 fans into the Reliant Center.
Will another record be broken this year? Come check out the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and let’s make some history.