Texas Prepares for the 2009 Rodeo Season

The rich Western heritage is a big part of the Texas story

 Photo: Texas Rodeo // (c) 2008
 Texas Rodeo

The Lone Star State is gearing up for this year’s rodeo season, filled with concerts, cook-offs and carnivals in Houston, Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio and elsewhere. With high stakes professional rodeo, live auctions, trail rides and more, the state’s rodeos offer something for just about everyone.

“Visitors to Texas’ annual livestock shows and rodeos will enjoy the exciting rodeo traditions and rich Western heritage that are such a big part of the Texas story, while at the same time experience a wide array of top musicians, incredible food, and shopping for everything from custom-made boots to jewelry and clothing,” said Julie Chase, director of tourism for the Texas Office of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.

Through Feb. 8, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo will celebrate its 113th year, with rodeo shows almost every day, a carnival, education exhibits and vendors selling everything from jewelry and belt buckles to boots and clothing apparel. www.fwstockshowrodeo.com

The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is currently underway through Feb. 17. Visitors will converge upon the AT&T Center and Freeman Coliseum Grounds for a host of rodeo events, along with a carnival and musical performances. Entertainers will include Reba McEntire, Gary Allan, Allen Jackson, Pat Green, Billy Ray Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Darius Rucker, Wade Bowen, the Goo Goo Dolls, Brooks & Dunn, Jack Ingram, Montgomery Gentry and more. Visitors can also enjoy authentic Texas barbecue at the 13th Annual BBQ Cook-off and concert, held at Six Flags Fiesta Texas on Jan. 31. www.sarodeo.com

The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo will take place March 3-22 at Reliant Park. Since the show’s 1932 debut, it has contributed more than $230 million to scholarships, research, endowments, junior show exhibitors and other educational and youth programs. The multi-day event will include a petting zoo, sing-a-longs and the Champion Wine Garden in Carruth Plaza. www.rodeohouston.com

On March 13-28, The Star of Texas Rodeo hopes to bring out the cowboys in Austin. Competitors will take to the Travis County Expo Center arena, and area exhibitors will show prize livestock there as well. Headline entertainers will perform nightly, with past performers including Willie Nelson, Styx, Gretchen Wilson and Kevin Fowler. www.staroftexas.org