Barbecue competing, calf roping, bronc-busting, chuckwagon racing, fried-Oreo eating. No one can argue that the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo doesn't put on one helluva good time. A few minutes after midnight on Monday at NRG Center, RodeoHouston released its lineup of star entertainment for its 2017 season and streamed it through Facebook Live.
Joel Cowley, president and CEO, and staff were excited to have a midnight party with a group of 60 special invite-only superfans along with live broadcasts from the New 93Q Country and The Bull 100.3. Some of these fans arrived at the event in pajamas and speculated about who would be included in the announcement. Others kept warm in their western wear, hoping to hear that their favorite artist would be "singing at the world's biggest rodeo show." It was a lively event, with fans watching videos playing the greatest rodeo events of 2016 and the HSLR mascot, Howdy, waddling around taking selfies with guests.
Just after the stroke of midnight, Cowley came out to speak, mentioning his relief over the fact that he didn't have to keep the lineup a secret anymore. The top executive caused some slight but brief confusion as he informed fans that he was not going to make the announcement and revealed that the opener of the rodeo, Aaron Watson, would have that honor. The performer nervously stepped out and told his story of playing a smaller side stage during the rodeo and hearing the roar of the crowd emanating from the stadium as Tim McGraw headlined. Watson spoke about this event as planting the seeds of his dreams to play the famed rotating stage on that dirt floor. In less than two months, other up-and-coming artists will hear the roars pouring out of NRG Stadium when "The Underdog" takes the stage opening night.
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Speaking of dreams, Watson started dropping in rapid succession the names of the unbelievable and eclectic lineup, which included heavy hitters such as Chris Stapleton, Alicia Keys, Willie Nelson, The Chainsmokers, ZZ Top and Blink 182.
The tickets will go on sale Saturday, January 14 at 10 a.m., but you can register early to enter the online waiting room, which opens at 9:30 a.m. www.axs.com/rodeohouston_registration