lola   Our Lollapalooza

Other cities have their parties. Milwaukee has the fabulous Summerfest, Miami’s Music Week, Chicago’s Lollapalooza and of course New Orleans has Mardi Gras. I have been to most of these and I can attest that our Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is The lollapalooza.

Oh yeah this is the world’s largest bar-b-cue, beer, whiskey and country music extravaganza, but the founding fathers of the rodeo had other ideas when they kicked off this event in 1932. They decided that charity and education of our children would be the two main beneficiaries. Since its’ inception the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has donated an astounding 330 million dollars to educate Texas students.

This year alone there will be 108 scholarships awarded totaling between $16,000 -$18,000 dollars per scholarship.

New charities added this year as beneficiaries of the Rodeo’s success include American Festival for the Arts, Children’s Museum of Houston, Cristo rey Jesuit College Preparatory and The Memorial Park Conservancy due to the massive devastation to the trees in Memorial Park. “ The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has donated an astounding 330 million dollars to educate Texas students. ” Could anyone in 1932 have envisioned that in this year’s opening parade that a black head football coach named Kevin Sumlin from Texas A&M University would be the Grand Marshall of the trail ride. Ending in downtown Houston, the parade was welcomed by hundreds of thousands of denizens who helped kick of the 2013 annual rodeo. There were over 3,000 trail riders traveling a combined total of nearly 1,800 miles and from as far away as Reynosa, Mexico.

A relative newcomer to the Rodeo festivities and what would have undoubtedly been a surprise evolution to the event’s forefathers is The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo’s, Rodeo Uncorked International Wine Competition Roundup and Best Bites Competition. This year featured over 2,800 wines. The Grand Champion Wine prize this year went to the Alexander Valley Vineyard for the Cyrus Alexander Valley 2008. Most of Houston’s top restaurants and caterers now offer their fare for tastings. This year’s winner for Top Food Popular Choice award went to Royer’s Round Top Cafe, who has been to the winner’s circle in this event twice before. Runner-up in the food event was Jonathan’s The Rub.

ConocoPhillips Annual Rodeo Run has become a rodeo mainstay and had nearly 15,000 runners this year. Since it’s inception the race has donated all of the proceeds which now totals over four million dollars. The number of volunteers for this little lollapalooza now totals over 27,000 strong, and shows what most Houstonians know. Houston is the most underrated city in America and won’t be for long. For more go to www.rodeohouston.com

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