RodeoHouston, the city’s largest public gathering every year from concerts to the carnival, World Champion BBQ Cookoff and more — will not be taking place in 2021 due to COVID-19 concerns.
Rodeo President and CEO Chris Boleman made the announcement on Twitter Wednesday (February 3). The rodeo had initially been moved to May with optimism but sadly, rising COVID cases and uncertainty prompted the Rodeo to put a 10-gallon hat on those ideas for 2021.
Although Junior Livestock Show and Horse Show Competitions will still be held in March as private events, the proper rodeo will not be taking place.
See the full press release below:
Today, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced the cancellation of the RODEOHOUSTON® competitions, concerts and entertainment, carnival, and other attractions and activities, which were recently rescheduled for May 4 – 23, 2021, due to the ongoing health situation.
The Junior Livestock and Horse Show competitions will still be held in March, as private events, upholding the Rodeo’s mission of promoting agriculture and supporting Texas youth. The Junior Market Auctions and Champion Wine Auction will also still be held in May, also as private events. These events will follow all state and local health and safety guidelines.
“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.”
Several factors contributed to the decision, from a community health and safety perspective, as well as a financial one. Above all, the health and safety of the community is the Rodeo’s top priority, and after much consultation with local and state officials and medical experts, Rodeo officials concluded that cancelling the 2021 event was the right decision, with community health at the forefront of the decision.
“Throughout these uncertain times, we have remained committed to upholding our mission and our support of Texas youth and education,” Boleman said. “We are proud to host Texas 4-H and FFA members, as well as the Horse Show exhibitors, who will all be participating this March. And, thanks to the support of our 35,000 dedicated volunteers, we were able to commit nearly $21.7 million in 2021 educational support.”
In addition, the Downtown Rodeo Parade, Trail Ride activities, Rodeo Uncorked! Roundup & Best Bites Competition, and the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, presented by Comcast Business, are canceled for 2021. The Rodeo Run, presented by ConocoPhillips, will be held in a virtual format, with details to be announced once available.
“The Rodeo and our volunteers are committed to continuing to provide fans with a community event that all can be proud of,” Boleman said. “We look forward to welcoming Rodeo fans back to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 2022 for our 90th anniversary celebration.”
Last year, the Rodeo canceled in mid-March at the beginning of the pandemic, signaling the beginning of one of the most eventual years in Houston history.