Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade

As a ten-year-old Yankee transplant to Houston in the mid-’70s, the strangest cultural tradition I encountered (outside of the delicacy called Frito pie) was the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade of cowboys, Stetsons and Dolly Parton lookalikes that signaled the kickoff of the rodeo. For two weeks, I would give my goombahs back home reports of record-size pigs from the local nightly news. Since then I’ve learned that rodeo time is an integral part of Houston’s cultural fabric, even if these days, more people are interested in seeing Hannah Montana than the steer-wrestling semifinals. The 2008 celebration kicks off with the annual parade, marking the march’s 70th anniversary. Original parade organizers envisioned something with the “pomp and ceremony of a Roman holiday” — presumably without the Christian-eating lions. Today the parade is made up of thousands of cowboys and cowgirls on horseback, marching bands, decorated floats and giant balloons (oh, and the occasional hay bale hottie). Baseball legend Craig Biggio is this year’s grand marshal. Hey, it’s the rodeo — everyone wants in on the act. 10 a.m. The parade route begins at Smith and Texas, and ends at Walker and Bagby. For information, call 832-667-1000 or visit www.rodeohouston.com. Free.
Sat., March 1, 10 a.m., 2008
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero