Despite the strange weather we've been seeing, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo did pretty darn good this year.
First, the overall attendance hit 2,485,721 visitors. Rodeo officials won't be able to look back on 2014 as the biggest attendance year ever -- that distinction belongs to 2013 when there was an extra day of rodeo that swelled the number of visitors to more than 2.5 million -- but it's the largest 20-day rodeo attendance recorded, so that's pretty cool.
The paid rodeo attendance record was also broken this year with 1,377,416 flooding through the gates to see all the acts and sample food vendor delicacies like the now-classic fried Oreos and the intriguing concept of chicken-fried bacon.
Attendance for the World Championship Bar-B-Cue Contest dipped a bit from last year's record-setting 264,132 people attending to 249,332 this year, according to the release.
On the music front, Tejano night with Banda MS and Pesado drew the biggest crowd, 75,224. However, nine of the individual acts from 2014 ranked in the top 20 most attended Rodeo Houston events, including Maroon 5 with 75,214, Luke Bryan with 75,078, Usher with 75,067, Blake Shelton with 75,054, Zac Brown Band with 75,012, Florida Georgia Line with 74,880, Keith Urban with 74,054, and the Band Perry with 73,943.
The draw of all things rodeo prevailed, despite the rain and cold and mostly Seattle-inspired weather of the past few weeks. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo President Joel Cowley attributed the attendance record and overall declared success of the rodeo to the people who work the thing.
"The visitor experience at the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was exceptional, thanks to the dedication and attention of our volunteers and staff," Cowley stated in a release. "So many different facets of the Show -- horse show, livestock show, rodeo, carnival, music, shopping and dining -- provided a unique combination for family fun and created an overall success."
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