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Houston Cancels Livestock Show and Rodeo After Postponement

The Houston rodeo isn’t going to make it out of the chute this year.

The 2021 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) has been canceled “due to the ongoing health situation.” In a press release, HLSR President Chris Boleman also cited money troubles for the rodeo’s cancellation.

“Several factors contributed to the decision, from a community health and safety perspective, as well as a financial one,” the release reads.

“Above all, the health and safety of the community is the Rodeo’s top priority, and after much consultation with local and state officials and medical experts, Rodeo officials concluded that canceling the 2021 event was the right decision, with community health at the forefront of the decision.”

This marks the second cancellation in a row for the city’s annual rodeo, though the 2020 rodeo folded under remarkably lighter strain: a single case in Montgomery County prompted city officials to shut down the hoedown.

Unlike Fort Worth, the City of Houston will allow the youth portions of the rodeo to remain.

“The Junior Livestock and Horse Show competitions will still be held in March, as private events, upholding the Rodeo’s mission of promoting agriculture and supporting Texas youth,” the release reads.

“The Junior Market Auctions and Champion Wine Auction will also still be held in May, also as private events. These events will follow all state and local health and safety guidelines.”

City officials originally decided to postpone the event until May. Although the rodeo is a city-permitted event, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo chimed in today after encouraging a total shutdown late last year.

“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,” Hidalgo stated.

“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.”

Harris County has kept a strong lead over the rest of Texas in cases and infections for months. Fatalities and new confirmed cases have both been dropping since mid-January.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who wields more authority over the rodeo and had expressed more optimism than Hidalgo last year, likewise supported the decision to cancel.

“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 foward to a bigger Houston Rodeo in 2022,” Turner said in a press release.

Like the canceled Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Houston’s rodeo missed out on state funding from the governor’s Event Trust Funds Program. The City of Fort Worth allowed other equine events that received this funding to continue, even using venues in the same neighborhood as the canceled official rodeo. The Event Trust Funds database shows no contributions to the HLSR last year.

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