The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ announced its Grand and Reserve Champion Steers in NRG Arena Friday night in front of a record-breaking audience of 75,600. 

Out of 17 breeds present, Blaize Benson, 15, from San Angelo, Texas, took home the title of Grand Champion with his Simmental Steer. Benson has shown with Tom Green County 4-H since he was in the third grade. When asked what advice he would give a young student considering showing at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, he said, “This will be the best thing that ever happens to you, win or lose, you’ll meet friends that will last a lifetime.” 

Benson’s father, Bryan Benson, spoke through tears of what it meant to see his child succeed. “It’s what we work hard for, and it’s a dream come true,” said Bryan Benson. “This is the biggest and best stock show in the world, so to be named Grand Champion here is pretty special.” 

Madelyn “Maddie” Shickendanz, of Perryton FFA, exhibited the Reserve Champion. Discussing the time and effort put into her project, Shickendanz said she exceeded her expectations on the green shavings. “This is the best I’ve ever done; It’s not every day that a medium-weight Brangus comes in and reserves an entire show.” 

Shickendanz also discussed how advocacy is key, especially in the agricultural industry. “I love agriculture and I love cattle. Agriculture is the backbone of our community, we got to be to support our farmers and ranchers,” Shickendanz said.  

Blaize Benson and Maddie Schickendanz will have their Grand Champion and Reserve Champion Steers up for auction on Saturday, March 16 at 11 a.m. in the NRG Arena Sales Pavilion.  


About the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo  

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo promotes agriculture by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage, and provides year-round educational support within the community. Since its beginning in 1932, the Rodeo has committed more than $600 million to the youth of Texas and education. The 2024 Rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 27 – March 17. The 2024 World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, presented by Cotton Holdings, is scheduled for Feb. 22 – 24. For more information, visit and follow @RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram and YouTube for all the latest news.