The rodeo fulfills all stereotypes about Texas. Cowboys competing for prizes, the plethora of deep-fried foods and the display of country music. The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo has all these characteristics, with quirks of its own.
The first rodeo held in Texas was in 1883. Traditions are highly regarded in this state, and currently twelve cities in Texas put on a rodeo during February and March. The Stock Show and Rodeo here in San Antonio is known to be one of the largest events of the year, with the city expecting around two million visitors.
Beginning in 1950, San Antonio put on its first rodeo and has continued to do so ever since. Because it is such a large event, over 6,000 volunteers come together to make it happen. Rodeos not only display the hard work of the participants but also the larger community whose time and effort make the stock show and rodeo an event to remember.
The rodeo itself is made up of seven events: bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle-bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding. There is also a youth rodeo, which first began in 2014 and includes pole bending, goat tying, barrel racing, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, ribbon roping and team roping. The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo is the “first major stock show to offer a comprehensive competition for youth contestants,” according to the organization’s website.
Excluding the actual rodeo itself, other attractions include the food, carnival rides and shops. From turkey legs to deep-fried oreos and funnel cakes, the rodeo is the place to be when you want to indulge in some delicious recipes. On the other hand, carnival rides can be fun but a little dangerous. While there’s always a fear of dying on a roller coaster or ferris wheel at any amusement park or carnival, be careful in choosing which rides to go on. (Pro tip: make sure the rides don’t make weird noises while you’re waiting in line). There are also over 250 retailers selling jewelry, cowboy boots, leather goods and much more.
Entertainers draw in many people as well. This year, headliners include Little Big Town, The Band Perry, Sam Hunt and Fifth Harmony. After spending the day watching events, eating, going on rides and shopping, there’s nothing better than closing out your experience with jamming to your favorite artists.
Not only is the rodeo a great place to spend the day and experience a little bit of Texan culture and history, it also generates a large pool of money towards education and scholarships. According to the show’s website, the organization has given over $171.4 million to the youth through junior livestock auctions, art auctions, the calf scramble program and show premiums with the help of donors and volunteers. As much as the show and rodeo are entertaining, the purpose of the event is larger and shows how much it positively impacts the local community.
The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo officially begins on Wednesday, February 8 and ends on Sunday, February 26. All events will be held at the AT&T Center. Tickets are available for purchase on the show’s website at www.sarodeo.com.