Thousands of early birds gathered on Saturday morning, Feb. 24, in downtown Houston to watch runners, trail riders, floats and Howdy march through the city streets in the Downtown Rodeo Parade, officially kicking off the 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The 31st annual Rodeo Run, presented by ConocoPhillips, led the celebration downtown and had approximately 9,000 participants in the wheelchair race, 10K race and 5K fun run/walk. Since 1988, nearly $5 million in entry fees has been contributed to the Rodeo.
2018 Rodeo Run winners:
- Wheelchair – Juan Rios
- 10K Overall Male – Kevin Castille
- 10K Overall Female – Peggy Yetman
- 10K Masters Male – Luis Armenteros
- 10K Masters Female – Maria Whitworth
- 5K Overall Male – Will Backscheider
- 5K Overall Female – Flora Lai
- 5K Masters Male – Ricky Kramer
- 5K Masters Female – Maria Villalon
The Downtown Parade began at 10 a.m., and was led by longtime Houston news anchor and grand marshal, Dave Ward. During his time with ABC Channel 13 News, Ward covered the annual parade, which celebrates agriculture, education, entertainment and Western heritage, 49 times.
More than 30 floats, wagons and stagecoaches traveled the parade route which began at Bagby and Walker streets and concluded at Lamar and Bagby streets. Along the route, floats were judged based on creativity, originality and presentation.
2018 Downtown Rodeo Parade float award winners:
Trail Rides at Memorial Park
- Sweepstakes – University of Houston Alumni
- Theme – La Michoacana Meat Market
- Originality – SupermercadoTeloloapan
- Most Beautiful – Goya Foods
- Chairman’s Award – Telemundo
- President’s Award – La Campera Tortilla Company
More than 3,000 trail riders from across Texas and Louisiana arrived in Memorial Park Friday, Feb. 23, just in time to lead the Downtown Rodeo Parade on Saturday morning. The 11 trail rides covered a combined total of 1,345 miles.
The participating trail rides were Mission, Northeastern, Old Spanish, Prairie View, Salt Grass, Sam Houston, Southwest, Southwestern Trail Riders of Houston, Texas Independence, The Spanish and Valley Lodge Trail Ride.
Each trail ride was judged on appearance, authenticity and overall Western spirit.
2018 Trail Ride winners:
2018 Trail Ride Parade winners:
- Spirit Award – Texas Independence
- Spirit Award Posthumously – Sergeant Steve Perez
- Division I Award (Large Trail Ride: 145+ participants) – Salt Grass
- Division II Award (Medium Trail Ride: 50 – 144 participants) – Texas Independence
- Division III Award (Small Trail Ride: 49 or fewer participants) – Old Spanish and Mission
- Best Show Wagon – Sam Houston
- Best Appearing Riders – Texas Independence
- Top Trail Ride – Salt Grass
The 2018 trail rides continue a more-than-65-year-old tradition that began in 1952 with four committed men traveling by trail from Brenham, Texas, to Houston to gather people for the Houston Fat Stock Show.
The longest trail ride is the Mission Trail Ride. At an outstanding 239 miles, the riders were required to saddle up on Feb. 9. The shortest trail ride, Sam Houston, set out for their 70-mile journey to Memorial Park on Feb. 18.
Opening day of the 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is this Tuesday, Feb. 27. Houston’s greatest tradition will run until March 18. Tickets start at just $18 at axs.com/rodeohouston.