2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Debuted a Texas-sized Concert Stage and Brought Garth Brooks Back for the First Time in 25 Years

by | Mar 19, 2018 | Article

The 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo presented a new, state-of-the-art, star-shaped concert stage, and opened and closed with dynamic performances by Garth Brooks, 25 years after his last RODEOHOUSTON® performance. Brooks entertained more than 150,000 RODEOHOUSTON fans during his two performances, and landed in the No. 1 spot on the paid rodeo/concert attendance records. The Houston Tradition entertained guests for 20 days, Feb. 27 – March 18, 2018.


“There was something fun for everyone at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo,” said Joel Cowley, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo president and CEO. “Along with our many offerings, we were excited to bring back Garth Brooks for our fans. With the help of more than 33,000 dedicated volunteers, fans were greeted with a celebration of agriculture, entertainment and Western heritage, all while supporting the youth of Texas.”


  • Total attendance for all activities on the grounds, Feb. 22 – 24 (World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest) and Feb. 27 – March 18, 2018 (Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo) reached 2,408,550.
    • In three days, the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest entertained 215,476 guests.
  • Paid Rodeo/concert attendance reached 1,346,388.
    • Five RODEOHOUSTON performances landed on the list of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s top 25 paid rodeo/concert attendance records.
      • first: Sunday, March 18, 2018 – Garth Brooks – 75,577
      • second: Sunday, March 11, 2018 – Go Tejano Day – Calibre 50 – 75,565
      • 20th: Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018 – Garth Brooks – 75,018
      • 21st: Saturday, March 17, 2018 – Brad Paisley – 75,016
      • 23rd: Friday, March 16, 2018 – Chris Stapleton – 75,014


  • RODEOHOUSTON committed $2.17 million to its contestants in 2018.
  • The 2018 RODEOHOUSTON Super Series invited the world’s top rodeo athletes to compete in seven traditional rodeo events, Feb. 27 – March 17.
    • RODEOHOUSTON Super Series athletes competed for a share of $1,748,000 in prize money. Each event champion rode out of NRG Stadium with $50,000, plus winnings from the preliminary rounds.
    • The 2018 RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Champions, with total money earned, are:
      • Tie-Down Roping: Tyler Milligan: Pawhuska, Oklahoma – $56,000
      • Bareback Riding: Clint Laye: Pocatello, Idaho – $57,250
      • Team Roping: Matt Sherwood: Pima, Arizona; and Walt Woodward: Stephenville, Texas – $112,000
      • Saddle Bronc Riding: Cody DeMoss: Heflin, Louisiana – $56,250
        • Three-time RODEOHOUSTON champion – 2003, 2017 and 2018
      • Steer Wrestling: Timmy Sparing: Helena, Montana – $53,500
      • Barrel Racing: Nellie Williams-Miller: Cottonwood, California – $58,750
      • Bull Riding: Parker Breding: Edgar, Montana – $57,500
  • The RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout®: North America’s Champions, presented by Crown Royal, was held Sunday, March 18, 2018.
    • This one-day event featured champion athletes from eight of the best rodeos in the U.S. and Canada.
    • Contestants competed as individuals, and as a team consisting of event champions from each of the eight rodeos: Rodeo Austin, Calgary Stampede, Cheyenne Frontier Days, Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, RODEOHOUSTON, National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, Reno Rodeo, and San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo.
    • The Super Shootout featured five fan-favorite events: bareback riding, barrel racing, bull riding, saddle bronc riding and steer wrestling.
    • With a total purse of $250,000, the Super Shootout is among the richest one-day rodeo events in the world. Each event champion earned $25,000, and team members earned an additional $2,500 each for their share of $12,500 for the winning team.
    • 2018 champions, with the rodeos they represented, are:
      • Bareback Riding: JR Vezain, Team RODEOHOUSTON
      • Barrel Racing: Nellie Williams-Miller, Team Reno Rodeo
      • Bull Riding: Sage Steele Kimzey, Team Calgary Stampede
      • Saddle Bronc Riding: Heith Demoss, Team Reno Rodeo
      • Steer Wrestling: Tyler Waguespack, Team RODEOHOUSTON
      • Super Shootout Team Award: Reno Rodeo
        • each team member took home an additional $2,500


  • Livestock and horse show competitions drew 33,949 entries.
  • Junior auction sales totaled $15,141,680
  • Five junior auction Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion lots set world or Show records. The prices for the top winners in the junior market and school art auctions were:
    • Junior Market Barrow
      • Grand Champion Barrow: $214,000 (world record)
      • Reserve Grand Champion Barrow: $134,000 (world record)
    • Junior Market Pen of Broilers
      • Grand Champion Pen of Broilers: $150,000
      • Reserve Grand Champion Pen of Broilers: $118,000
    • Junior Market Goat
      • Grand Champion Goat: $182,000 (world record)
      • Reserve Grand Champion Goat: $100,000
    • Junior Market Lamb
      • Grand Champion Lamb: $300,000 (world record)
      • Reserve Grand Champion Lamb: $120,000
    • Junior Market Steer
      • Grand Champion Steer: $410,000
      • Reserve Grand Champion Steer: $366,000 (world record)
    • Junior Market Turkey
      • Grand Champion Turkey: $110,000
      • Reserve Grand Champion Turkey: $95,000
    • School Art
      • Grand Champion Work of Art: $225,000
      • Reserve Grand Champion Work of Art: $150,000
  • Auction totals (unaudited preliminary totals that do not include cash contributions and some purchase commitment amounts) were:
    • Barrow: $3,002,251
    • Lamb and Goat: $2,912,540
    • Poultry: $1,745,870
    • School Art: $2,048,745
    • Steer: $5,432,274
  • The Junior Commercial Steer Auction totaled $644,106 (live auction of choice steers).
  • The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Auction totaled $2,431,041.
  • The Ranching & Wildlife Auction totaled $519,920.
  • Calf scramble and judging contest winners received 365 certificates, each worth $2,250, to apply toward the purchase of a registered beef heifer or steer to exhibit at the 2019 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Certificate premiums totaled $821,250.
  • Calf scramble exhibitors from 2017 who returned with their heifer or steer projects to compete at the 2018 Houston Livestock Show received more than $100,000 total in premiums and awards.


  • The Rodeo committed $26,709,110 to the youth of Texas in 2018:
    • $14,271,000 in scholarships to be awarded this summer;
    • $8,125,250 to junior show exhibitors and calf scramble participants;
    • $3,726,820 in educational program grants; and
    • $586,040 in graduate assistantships.

AGVENTURE, presented by Occidental Petroleum

  • More than 61,000 people participated in a scheduled school tour or field trip.
  • More than 19,000 little cowboys and cowgirls rode the pony rides.
  • More than 625 eggs hatched in the Poultry Exhibit.
  • Sixty-one piglets, 14 calves and 13 lambs were born at the Birthing Center.
  • More than 62,000 sunflower seeds were planted in the Soil Exhibit.

The Junction

  • More than 114,000 little farmers visited Fun on the Farm, presented by TDECU.
  • More than 14,000 people rode camels.
  • More than 3,600 children participated in Mutton Bustin’ in The Junction.


  • More than 365,000 Oreos were fried and more than 125,000 turkey legs, more than 80,000 funnel cakes, nearly 30,000 barbecue sandwiches, and more than 45,000 tamales were purchased.

Official Rodeo Merchandise

  • Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and entertainer merchandise sales reached more than $3.4 million.
  • Nearly 75,000 items with the Rodeo’s logo went home with fans, including 30,000 caps and T-shirts, 10,000 lapel pins, and 9,000 cups and mugs.


  • A record of more than 2.7 million rides were enjoyed in the carnival.
  • It took 350 truckloads of equipment to build the carnival.
  • Sixty-four semitrailers full of plush toys were brought to the carnival.
  • The top five rides in the carnival were La Grande Wheel, Skyride, Windstorm, RaveWave and Crazy Coaster.

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