Today, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Trailblazer Committee announced the winners of its 2023 Writing Competition. Texas-area fourth graders were invited to submit either a poem or an essay, following the theme, “If I Had a Pony.” This is the program’s third year.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ belt buckles were awarded for first, second and third place in each category; as well as a Trailblazer’s Choice award in each category, which were selected by the Rodeo’s Trailblazer Committee.
The 2023 winners are:
1st – Claire Pumphrey, Morgan Elementary – Fulshear, Texas
* Winner of the inaugural competition as a second grader!
2nd – Logan Torres, Arcadia First Baptist Christian School – Santa Fe, Texas
3rd – Madison Kloesel, Walnut Springs Elementary – New Braunfels, Texas
1st – Mackenzie Wood, Serene Hills Elementary – Austin, Texas
2nd – Owen Greening, Bess Campbell Elementary – Sugar Land, Texas
3rd – Emery Becker, Bluff Dale Elementary – Bluff Dale, Texas
Shiloh Balasuriya, T.H. Rogers Elementary – Houston, TX
Elizabeth Alexander, Homeschool – Jarrell, TX
“This was an exciting new year as we moved our competition from second to fourth graders in Texas,” said Wendy Lewis Armstrong, officer in charge of the Rodeo’s Trailblazer Committee. “We were honored and impressed by all of the entries and the enthusiasm of both students and educators alike.”
The competition was developed in 2021, to support literacy and writing skills and encourage creativity in Texas students, which falls in line with the Trailblazer Committee’s ongoing efforts to promote reading and literacy in school children, year-round.
Each entry was judged by committee volunteers in two blind rounds on the following criteria: Ideas, Organization, Voice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions, and Presentation. For more information on the Writing Competition, visit the dedicated webpage on the Rodeo website.
Following the committee judging, the top entries were judged by a panel of “celebrity” judges, including Zane Carruth, a children’s author from Houston, Mary Brooke Casad, a featured Texas writer at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, TX, Vanessa Gilmore, published author and the youngest ever appointee to a federal judgeship at 36 years old, Chris Mullen, a Western author from Richmond TX, and Cathy Nickel, a children’s book author and speaker from Houston, TX.
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 $575 million to the youth of Texas and education. The 2023 Rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 28 – March 19. The 2023 World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, presented by Cotton Holdings, took place on Feb. 23 – 25. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all the latest news.