Rodeo Houston's the Largest Because of San Angelo Rodeo's Success
HOUSTON, TX — Boyd Polhamus is spending 20 days in Houston, Texas doing what he loves. He’s a rodeo announcer. No; that’s not quite right. He’s the rodeo announcer. He loves rodeo. He really loves what he does and that’s why he’s the best in the business.
So what does Polhamus do before he announces at Rodeo Houston, the largest Rodeo in the United States? He spends three weeks in San Angelo because this rodeo is as good as it gets. And that includes the stock shows, carnival and exhibits, and all that goes along with the rodeo.
It’s difficult to nail down where the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo lines up with the other major stock shows and rodeos in Texas and the United States. Last year, San Angelo's rodeo was nominated to be recognized as the best PRCA indoor rodeo. Though the rodeos in the larger cities usually get that homor, one thing is for certain; the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo comes before Rodeo Houston each year and competitors from professional cowboys and cowgirls to livestock show exhibitors to vendors and fans migrate from San Angelo to Houston because they love rodeo.
Rodeo Houston is big. Really big. While the rodeo itself fills the NRG stadium, vendors and exhibitors fill the NRG Center and arena and spill over on the the grounds around NRG and the Astrodome.
The NRG stadium in Houston seats 72,220 folks. The San Angelo coliseum seats just over 5,000.
I spent three days recently at Rodeo Houston. It was overwhelming to say the least. I had a hotel room half a mile from NRG stadium.
My girlfriend is from Houston and on the International Committee. She served as my tour guide for my first trip to Rodeo Houston. We toured the NRG center where the exhibitors and vendors are setup. M.L. Leddys had a boot there. It was staffed by the Ft. Worth Leddys location.
The International Committee is one of over 100 committees which utilize some 33,000 volunteers. The International Committee hosts the out of county guests who attend rodeo. Many of them are from South America and are cattle breeders who exhibit breeding stock at Houston. They held a gala for the guests and Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller attended.
San Angelo had a wine tent for the first time this year but has had a beer barn for decades. Rodeo Houston has Wine garden situated next to the Astrodome near the NRG Center. They have two stages with live music throughout rodeo. The wine garden covers about 4 acres.
Rodeo Houston is an experience. The rodeo performance includes a grand entry like San Angelo used to have. It’s a big pageant parade of horses and dignitaries. The performance also includes rough stock competitions and is much like San Angelo’s as Polhamus announces who’s riding and the animal their competing on.
One of the biggest differences between Rodeo Houston and the San Angelo Rodeo is the entertainment. Once the rodeo performance is over the audience remains seated. They pull a new rotating stage into the arena and big name performers put on a concert. This year Garth Brooks played the opening performance and will play the closing performance as well. Rodeo Houston runs through March 18.