Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ Celebrates Record-Breaking Attendance of More Than 2.6 Million Fans at the 2017 Show

by | Mar 27, 2017 | Article

The world’s largest celebration of agriculture, education, entertainment and Western heritage drew a record-breaking 2,611,176 visitors in total attendance to the 85th annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, March 7 – 26, 2017.

“Powered by more than 33,000 volunteers, the 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo successfully provided a record number of visitors with a world-class entertainment experience,” said Joel Cowley, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo president and CEO. “During the 2017 Show, fans were immersed in one-of-a-kind educational and agricultural exhibits, larger-than-life entertainment, and nightly celebrations of Western heritage during RODEOHOUSTON®.”



The total 2017 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo attendance was more than the population of any Texas city.

  • Total attendance for all activities on the grounds was a record 2,611,176.
    • In three days, the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest entertained 226,369 guests, and on Thursday, March 2, attendance reached an opening-day record of 47,883.
    • Another record was broken on Saturday, March 18, with a single-day attendance of 185,667, when the Show had more people on the grounds than Texas’ 16th most populated city.
  • Paid Rodeo/concert attendance reached 1,370,263.
    • Two of the RODEOHOUSTON performances landed on the list of the Show’s top 20 paid rodeo/concert attendance records.
      • First: Sunday, March 19, 2017 – Go Tejano Day – Banda El Recodo and Siggno – 75,557
      • 17th: Thursday, March 16, 2017 – Luke Bryan – 75,033


  • RODEOHOUSTON committed $2.17 million to its contestants in 2017.
  • The 2017 RODEOHOUSTON Super Series invited the world’s top rodeo athletes to compete in seven traditional rodeo events, March 7 – 25.
    • With the entire purse provided by 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.
    • 2017 RODEOHOUSTON Super Series Champions, with total money earned, are:
      • Tie-Down Roping: Caleb Smidt: Belleville, Texas – $58,500
      • Bareback Riding: Jake Vold: Airdrie, Alberta, Canada – $56,000
      • Team Roping: Zac Small: Welch, Oklahoma; and Levi Lord: Sturgis, South Dakota – $110,000
      • Saddle Bronc Riding: Cody DeMoss: Heflin, Louisiana – $56,438
        • 2003 RODEOHOUSTON Champion
      • Steer Wrestling: Tyler Waguespack: Gonzales, Louisiana – $56,500
      • Barrel Racing: Kassie Mowry: Dublin, Texas – $60,000
      • Bull Riding: Garrett Smith: Rexburg, Idaho – $53,375
  • The RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout®: North America’s Champions, presented by Crown Royal, was held Sunday, March 26, 2017.
    • 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 part of a team consisting of event champions from each of the eight rodeos.
    • The Super Shootout features 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.
    • 2017 champions, with the rodeos they represented, are:
      • Bareback Riding: Tim, O’Connell, Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
      • Barrel Racing: Ivy Conrado, Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
      • Bull Riding: Riker Carter, Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
      • Saddle Bronc Riding: Taos Muncy, Reno Rodeo
      • Steer Wrestling: Sterling Lambert, Rodeo Austin
      • Super Shootout Team Award: Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
      • each team member took home an additional $2,500


  • Livestock and horse show competitions drew 32,793 entries.
  • There were more than 19,000 Houston Livestock Show junior entries for the 10 breeding, market and dairy livestock shows, and 21 judging competitions and contests.
  • Junior auction sales totaled $15,239,356
  • Six 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: $212,000 (world record)
      • Reserve Grand Champion Barrow: $133,000 (world record)
    • Junior Market Pen of Broilers
      • Grand Champion Pen of Broilers: $150,000
      • Reserve Grand Champion Pen of Broilers: $75,000
    • Junior Market Goat
      • Grand Champion Goat: $180,000 (world record)
      • Reserve Grand Champion Goat: $115,000
    • Junior Market Lamb
      • Grand Champion Lamb: $270,000 (world record)
      • Reserve Grand Champion Lamb: $125,000
    • Junior Market Steer
      • Grand Champion Steer: $345,000
      • Reserve Grand Champion Steer: $330,000
    • Junior Market Turkey
      • Grand Champion Turkey: $110,000
      • Reserve Grand Champion Turkey: $68,000
    • School Art
      • Grand Champion Work of Art: $235,000 (Show record)
      • Reserve Grand Champion Work of Art: $221,000 (Show record)
  • Auction totals (unaudited preliminary totals that do not include cash contributions and some purchase commitment amounts) were:
    • Barrow: $2,773,280
    • Lamb and Goat: $3,101,479
    • Poultry: $1,615,334
    • School Art: $2,285,233
    • Steer: $4,354,700
  • The Junior Commercial Steer Auction totals were $628,539 (live auction of choice steers).
  • The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Champion Wine Auction brought in $1,844,208.
  • The Ranching & Wildlife Auction totaled $551,116.
  • Calf scramble and judging contest winners received 370 certificates, each worth $2,000, to apply toward the purchase of a registered beef heifer, steer or dairy calf to exhibit at the 2018 Houston Livestock Show. Certificate premiums totaled $740,000.
  • Calf scramble exhibitors from 2016 who returned with their heifer, steer and dairy projects to compete at the 2017 Houston Livestock Show received more than $100,000 total in premiums and awards.


  • The Show committed $26,065,510 to the youth of Texas in 2017:
    • $14,272,000 in scholarships to be awarded this summer ($18,000 scholarships were increased to $20,000);
    • $7,653,750 to junior show exhibitors and calf scramble participants;
    • $3,614,360 in educational program grants; and
    • $525,400 in graduate assistantships.



  • Four RODEOHOUSTON entertainers drew 75,000 or more fans to NRG Stadium.
  • Show officials announced on Thursday, March 16, that country music icon Garth Brooks would open and close 2018 RODEOHOUSTON.
  • The new Mare and Foal presentation became a fan-favorite during the nightly 2017 performances, highlighting animal welfare and breeding programs. A new foal was born during RODEOHOUSTON, and fans voted to name the new addition Houston’s Honey.

AGVENTURE, presented by Occidental Petroleum

  • More than 61,000 people participated in a scheduled school tour or field trip.
  • More than 20,000 little cowboys and cowgirls rode the pony rides.
  • More than 425 eggs hatched in the Poultry Exhibit.
  • Fifty-eight piglets, 20 calves and 14 lambs and were born at the Birthing Center.
  • More than 65,000 sunflower seeds were planted in the Soil Exhibit.

The Junction

  • More than 109,500 little farmers visited TDECU Fun on the Farm.
  • More than 16,000 people rode camels.
  • More than 3,500 children participated in Mutton Bustin’ in The Junction.


  • Visitors consumed
    • 47,480 tamales;
    • 38,000 cinnamon rolls;
    • 29,196 potatoes;
    • 18,915 barbecue sandwiches;
    • 10,819 sausages on-a-stick;
    • 8,000 funnel cakes;
    • 3,400 corn dogs;
    • and 122 slices of bug pizza.


  • Live television broadcasts were available on FOX Sports Southwest throughout the U.S. and Canada, March 22 – 26.
  • Live streaming of RODEOHOUSTON action each night was available at rodeohouston.com and FoxSports.com/Southwest.
  • The Show produced four live streams of various Show activities and live rodeo competition each day.

Show Merchandise

  • Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and entertainer merchandise sales reached more than $4 million.
  • More than 80,000 items with the Show’s logo went home with fans, including 25,000 T-shirts, 10,000 lapel pins, and 10,000 cups and mugs.

Social Media

  • Since March 1, 2017,
    • more than 357,000 public mentions online were recorded;
    • 281,259,000 fans were reached online;
    • and more than 287,683,000 additional fans were reached due to shares of the Show’s online content.


  • More than 830,000 visitors utilized the Rodeo Express and METRO Park & Ride locations, including more than 380,000 riding METRORail.


  • It took 350 truckloads of equipment to build the carnival.
  • The carnival hosted more than 2.4 million riders during the 20-day run of the Show.
  • Eighty semitrailers full of teddy bears found new homes.
  • Forty-one miles of turkey legs, if lined up end to end, were eaten.
  • The equivalent of two fields of corn were roasted.
  • The top five rides were Skyride, La Grande XL, Windstorm, RaveWave and G Force.
  • The top five games were Bank a Ball #1, One Ball, Mini Basketball, Bank a Ball #2 and Tubs.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a Section 501(c)(3) charity that benefits youth, supports education, and facilitates better agricultural practices through exhibitions and presentation. Since its beginning in 1932, the Show has committed more than $430 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 27 – March 18.

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