Bulk of Houston Rodeo moved to May over coronavirus concerns

HOUSTON – The bulk of the activities surrounding the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has been moved to may because of concerns over the coronavirus.

The Houston tradition was originally scheduled to run from March 2-21 at NRG Park, but the majority of the festival is now scheduled from May 4-23. This includes RODEOHOUSTON competitions, concerts, entertainment, carnival and activities. Rodeo-related events that usually happen in January and February, like the parade, trail ride, barbecue and run, are also being moved to coincide with the May schedule.

“With the evolving health situation, we have made the decision to move the 2021 Rodeo from March to May, with the exception of our Junior Livestock and Horse Show competitions, to be held as planned in March. We remain dedicated to fulfilling our mission to support Texas youth and hosting a long-time Houston tradition,” Rodeo President and CEO Chris Boleman said in a written statement.

Officials said there are no guarantees that the events will go on as scheduled, but moving the event by two months creates a better opportunity to hold the Rodeo.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said in a statement that her office has been providing Rodeo officials with guidance as they determined the schedule for the 2021 event.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Rodeo officials have been working with city health officials to create a safe environment for the Rodeo when it happens.

You can read the full statements from each official below.

Official statements

Hidalgo issued the following statement:

“The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is part of the DNA that makes up who we are as Harris County. It’s an incredible forum for world class competition, entertainment, and scholarship. We desperately wish we could return to normal with a regular show in the Spring. Sadly, we are far from reaching a point where any gathering is advisable, let alone one the size and scale of our rodeo.

“Over the past several months we have remained in close touch with rodeo officials to provide them with the latest guidance from public health officials and have had very productive conversations. We will continue to do so. We still do not know if hosting a mass gathering like the Rodeo in May will be feasible, safe or advisable, and it may well not be.

Even with the potential of a vaccine on the horizon, we need folks to channel that optimism and take action now to prevent the spread by canceling gatherings, getting tested, and following public health guidance. Right now, we’re far from the finish line, but there is a finish line in sight.”

Turner issued the following statement:

“I have spoken with Rodeo officials, and I thank them for working closely with the City of Houston and Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Persse about moving the show to May 2021. While no one can predict the future of the coronavirus pandemic, I am optimistic that the multiple vaccines that are being developed and manufactured in the United States will improve our chances of returning to normal activities by the middle of next year.

“Houston and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo are synonymous. It is hard to imagine one without the other. People worldwide come to our City to compete for grand prizes and enjoy the carnival and concerts.

“When the Rodeo was canceled earlier this year because of COVID-19 community spread, the decision was based on data and science. As we move forward, the City of Houston will continue to monitor the positivity rate, hospital capacity, wastewater virus load, and reproduction rate. If we work together, we can create a safe environment for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

“I encourage people to do their part to blunt the virus’s progression; that means wearing a mask, social distancing, washing your hands frequently, and getting tested. I also encourage everyone to get vaccinated when the opportunity becomes available.”


About the Author:

Aaron Barker has been a senior digital editor at KPRC 2 since 2016. As a meteorologist, he specializes in stories about the weather. He has covered Hurricane Harvey, the Astros first World Series win, the Santa Fe High School shooting, the ITC fire and Tropical Storm Imelda.