Louis M. Pearce Jr. was a member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Executive Committee and previously served as Show president (1967 – 1969) and chairman of the board. He first became involved with the Show in 1939 when he bought a bull. In 1946, he began exhibiting cattle at the Show, and in 1948, he began exhibiting Quarter Horses. He became a member of the Show in 1948 and was elected to the Show’s board of directors in 1961. Pearce served as a Show vice president from 1963 to 1965 and as secretary in 1966. He was elected to the Show’s Executive Committee in 1975.
During his Show presidency, an additional four acres were added to the Astrohall, a covered walkway was added between the Astrohall and Astrodome, chuck wagon races were added to the rodeo, the rodeo purse reached $100,000, a commercial female cattle sale was added, scholarship amounts were doubled from $2,000 to $4,000, and the Grand Champion Steer sold for a record $31,000.
In 1970, Pearce was instrumental in signing Elvis Presley as a star entertainer, as well as George Strait in 1983. The bronze statue “Dreams and Memories,” located in Carruth Plaza at Reliant Park, was dedicated to Pearce in 1986. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Louis M. Pearce Jr. Board Dining Room is named in his honor.
Pearce was born in Houston Feb. 17, 1917, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis M. Pearce Sr. Raised in Houston, he attended San Jacinto High School, and he graduated from the Texas Military Institute in San Antonio in 1936. He attended The University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in business administration, was a member of the Kappa Alpha Fraternity and was an active polo player. His first year after college, he went to work on a ranch in New Mexico playing polo and training polo ponies.
In November 1940, he joined the army and served as a sergeant in the horse cavalry. Two years later, he went to Officer Candidate School at Fort Riley, Kan., and received his commission. He was sent to Italy in 1943 where he served in all phases of the Italian campaign with the II Corps as an aide to Lt. Gen. Keyes, Commander of the II Corps. He was discharged in 1945 with the rank of Major.
Upon return to civilian life, Pearce joined his father’s company, Waukesha-Pearce Industries, and in 1947 was named the corporation’s president. In 1970, he was named president of TIW Corporation. In 1976, a parent company, Pearce Industries, Inc., was formed, and where he served as chairman of board of all three companies.
Pearce was a rancher since 1938 and operated commercial cattle ranches in three Texas counties: Brazoria, Atascosa and Maverick. An avid hunter, he has hunted all over the world and has implemented game conservation programs on his ranches.