After previously announcing they were going to try to operate the 2021 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in May, today rodeo officials have just announced they will have to cancel it instead because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Youth competitors in the Junior Livestock and Horse Show will still meet in March and the Junior Market Auctions and Champion Wine Auction will take place in May — all under state and local health guidelines. But the star entertainers and professional cowboys and cowgirls will have to wait for 2022 to perform again.
“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, HLSR president and CEO in a press release.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Following the rodeo's announcement, Mayor Sylvester Turner sent out this statement:
"The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is one of the most significant events held in Houston every year. It is part of our western heritage, draws guests from around the world, and provides more than a $220 million boost to the local economy and valuable scholarships to young people pursuing higher education.
"I commend the HLSR for maintaining its commitment to award more than $21 million in scholarships this year to help students attend colleges and universities despite the cancellation.
"I know that canceling the 2021 Rodeo was a difficult decision for President and CEO Chris Boleman and the thousands of dedicated volunteers, vendors, workers, and competitors who make the show successful. I support their decision and look forward to a bigger Houston Rodeo in 2022."
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo also issued a statement on the rodeo's cancellation:
“I want to commend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for protecting the health and safety of our community. The next few months are crucial to determining if and how fast we’ll be able to reach herd immunity. I know that when it comes to cancelling events like this, it’s never easy - particularly when there is so much at stake for local vendors and residents who have come to depend on the rodeo for scholarship, entertainment, and business. The truth is, the smarter we work to prevent the spread of COVID-19 now, the faster we can get back to normal, get our economy running at full speed, and again enjoy amazing events like the Rodeo who make us who we are as a county."
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