Annually, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Go Tejano Committee invites five professional Mariachi groups from across the State of Texas to compete in the Rodeo’s Mariachi Invitational. The five groups, whose identities remain secret during the performances, compete through two rounds before advancing to the final round in NRG Stadium. The first round, called The Showcase, is held at the Arena Theatre the day before the Semifinals, which are held in The Hideout at NRG Park on Go Tejano Day.
The first two rounds are judged by five Mariachi professionals/educators. Judges score them in several categories, including musicianship, creativity and showmanship. The two finalists compete in NRG Stadium in front of the RodeoHouston crowd of more than 70,000 people. The winner is then determined by audience applause. There are cash prizes for all participants ranging from $1,000 to a $7,500 for first place.