March 7, 2022
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is back after a nearly two-year pandemic-induced hiatus, and Phillips 66 is in the saddle to spur the festivities.
The company is again sponsoring the Stars Over Texas Stage, which will feature a singing competition, family entertainment and live music from up-and-coming acts. Phillips 66 will also award a $20,000 scholarship for a student to attend a Texas college or university.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo kicked off February 28 and will run through March 20. We celebrate its welcome return with fun facts from past and present:
What’s that name again? – The event started in 1932 with a different name: the Houston Fat Stock Show and Livestock Exposition. The event attracted 2,000 people as organizers enticed fans with free barbecue. The name was changed in the early 1960s to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, also known as RodeoHouston. These days, it is the world’s largest livestock show and one of the richest regular-season rodeos, with attendance hovering around 2.5 million.
The stars at night are big and bright – The first bona fide entertainer was Gene Autry, the famous Singing Cowboy, in 1942. Other big names through the years included Elvis Presley, The Jackson 5, Dolly Parton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash and Houston’s own Beyoncé.
Texas-sized crowds – The 2019 rodeo was one for the record books. The closing concert starring George Strait, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen set an audience record at 80,108. But the largest paid attendance for an individual musical act belongs to Los Tigres del Norte, which drew 75,586. The regional Mexican band bested Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B’s rodeo debut nine days earlier by six people.
Money for scholars – The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo awards more than 800 scholarships to Texas students every year. In 2022, more than $14 million will go to scholarships and another $5 million to prizes for junior show exhibitors.
It takes a (big) village – In the 1930s, about 200 volunteers helped put on the show. Today, that number is 35,000. The rodeo has 110 volunteer committees taking care of duties, from running steer and swine auctions to setting up obstacles for horse shows to planning an international wine competition. Many Phillips 66 employees are part of the army of volunteers.