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Wednesday, October 04, 2023 — Houston, TX

Bull ride and barrel race at the Rodeo

Genesis Hahn / Thresher

By Hadley Medlock     2/28/23 11:07pm

Everyone say “yee-haw” because it’s that time of year again — the weather is finally back in the 80’s, midterm assignments have every Rice student in tears and the annual Houston Rodeo has come to town. Running from Feb. 28 to March 19 at NRG Park and attracting around two million visitors each year, even if you haven’t yet been to the Houston Rodeo you’ve probably heard about it. While this might not be your first rodeo, it may be your first in Houston, so here’s the Thresher’s guide to navigating the Houston Rodeo this year. 

Getting In

While you may be able to snag tickets from some Rice Program Council giveaway, nothing is guaranteed. Individual tickets for entrance to the rodeo events as well as the nightly performer start at $25 each. If you’re only looking for a grounds pass to enter the carnival, see the horse show or dine and shop, tickets start at $20. However, this is not the best option because it only lets you enter NRG Park events, not the actual rodeo and performances in NRG Stadium. 

Rodeo Events

Although riding a horse may not be your thing, going to the Houston Rodeo isn’t complete without actually seeing a few of the competitive events they host. From bull riding to barrel racing, Houston Rodeo hosts a 20-day tournament-style competition bringing the best riders from around the state. 

Other than these competitions, the rodeo also hosts a variety of exhibitions and other shows. Boasting more than 30,000 entries, the Houston Livestock Show is the biggest in the world and shows off animals from dairy cattle to llamas and alpacas. Mutton Bustin’ is often a fan favorite as five and six-year-olds attempt to hang on the back of a running sheep without falling off. 


 If you’re like me and not afraid to admit you like country music every now and then, the Houston Rodeo brings in some big names. Hopefully singing “Chicken Fried” and “As She’s Walking Away,” the Zac Brown Band is playing March 5. If you like to turn on a Spotify private listening session and secretly listen to “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” you’re also in luck — Kenny Chesney performs on March 15. And, if you love the song “Tennessee Whiskey” as much as I do, Chris Stapleton graces the rodeo’s presence on March 16. The only two women in the lineup this year, Lauren Daigle and Ashley McBryde, perform on March 2 and March 9, respectively.

For those who don’t appreciate country music, the rodeo still has you covered. New Kids on the Block will perform on March 7 and rapper Bun B will perform on March 3. The Chainsmokers, known for catchy earworms like “Closer” and “Just Like This,” will be playing March 10. Or, if you’re in love with an emo girl, you can hear Machine Gun Kelly sing about it on March 14. 

The full lineup is available on the Houston Rodeo website.

Food Options

Not a fan of live music? Test your stomach with foods that were never really intended to be fried or dining options on a stick. The fried red velvet cupcake from Sills Funnel Cakes was voted the best dessert last year and the bacon mac and cheese eggroll from the Finer Diner was hailed as the rodeo’s best new flavor. Other foods to look out for include huge stuffed turkey legs, great barbecue options and classic corn dogs. 

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