Reliant Park has been bustling with activity, as the 79th rendition of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo begins its 20-day run. LeRoy Shafer is the chief operating officer. He says the show's success is one that others try to emulate.
"Shows come from all over the world to look and see how we do what we do, and how we have the success that we do. They look at Reliant Stadium and sure, that is a tremendous part, but if we didn't have 24-thousand volunteers working on 110 committees, they're the heart and soul of the show, and that puts a tremendous marketing force on the ground. All these people come together and they make the show what it is."
The entertainment lineup represents a who's who in music besides country and western. Shafer says they've added even more excitement on the final day of the rodeo competition.
"We're gonna take the four most popular rodeo events of our show: bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding and women's barrel racing, and we've invited the champions from this past year, from the top ten rodeos in North America, and they're gonna come in here and compete on that day for 2000 dollars."
Meanwhile, vendors were busy setting up to sell their wares: from vehicles to venison, clothing to jewelry, and everything in between. Winnifred Scoffield and her partner have been associated with the rodeo for 35-years.
"It's just a great revenue for us because we're local vendors, so we get people all year round that come in to our store from being out here these few weeks."
PH : "Everybody regards this as the "big show" and for good reason right?"
Scoffield : "Good reason. There's many people. I think there's over a million people that come out here and visit."
A study done by UH economics professor Dr. Barton Smith found that the HLS&R provides more than $27-million dollars in tax revenue each year.
Sue Porter from Fredericksburg says she's happy to help Houston's economy, but:
"Everything that this show is all about is scholarship for the kids, so I donate to one of the committees. I'm not kidding you, they are all about scholarships and they write you notes. It's very self healing when you get a note from a little kid that says 'thank you so much for your donation.' It works wonders, so that's what we focus on."
Last year, the HLS&R provided more than 11-million dollars in scholarships, research, endowments and support for education to benefit the youth of Texas.