HOUSTON – The 79th installment of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo ended on a record-breaking run, as more than 2.2 million people attended this year’s event.
"There are so many variables regarding attendance, from the weather to the economy, but we continue to excel by creating an exciting, innovative, fun, affordable place for friends and families to enjoy," said Skip Wagner, president of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Along with the record 2,262,834 visitors that attended the rodeo, five RodeoHouston performances landed on the list of the show’s top 20 paid attendance records:
- 3rd: March 19, 2011 — Brad Paisley – 73,825
- 4th: March 16, 2011 — Miranda Lambert – 73,811
- 5th: March 13, 2011 — La Arrolladorra Banda El Limon and La Leyenda – 73,469
- 15th: March 6, 2011 — Selena Gomez – 72,709
- 19th: March 15, 2011 — KISS – 72,384
In addition to the attendance numbers, this year’s rodeo saw record numbers at the various auctions that took place.
Rodeo officials said each of the rodeo’s junior auctions brought in more than $1 million, with six of the junior auction Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion records being broken.
The prices for the top winners were as follows:
- Grand Champion Barrow, $177,000; and *Reserve Grand Champion Barrow, $120,000 (world record)
- Grand Champion Goat, $140,000; and Reserve Grand Champion Goat, $100,000 (world record)
- Grand Champion Lamb, $200,000; and Reserve Grand Champion Lamb, $120,000 (world record)
- Grand Champion Pen of Broilers, $120,000; and Reserve Grand Champion Pen of Broilers, $77,000
- Grand Champion Steer, $350,000; and Reserve Grand Champion Steer, $310,000
- Grand Champion Turkey, $88,000; and Reserve Grand Champion Turkey, $81,000
- Grand Champion Work of Art, $205,000; and *Reserve Grand Champion Work of Art, $170,000 (world record)
And it couldn’t be a proper rodeo without all the unique food. Here are the numbers for the amount of food consumed:
- 122,800 funnel cakes
- 111,000 turkey legs (20 small turkey farms!)
- 66,000 caramel and candied apples (two orchards!)
- 20,000 pounds of sugar for cotton candy
- 9,000 pounds of strawberries
- 5,000 cans of whipped cream
- 10,800 chocolate-covered strawberries
- 30,000 glasses of lemonade
- 3 tons of catfish
- 50,000 pounds of potatoes
Show highlights and other notable numbers:
- Country music star Clay Walker opened the show on March 1, marking his 17th appearance. Walker also served as the Grand Marshal of the Downtown Rodeo Parade on Feb. 26.
- Before she took the stage on March 4, Janet Jackson was presented a photo of her brothers as members of The Jackson 5 performing at RodeoHouston in 1974. Janet’s performance was 37 years after her brothers took the stage.
- The show hosted almost 3,000 international guests from 61 countries, including large delegations from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Venezuela.
- Harry Pepper, the show’s oldest volunteer and Calf Scramble Committee member, started the Saturday, March 5, calf scramble. Pepper, who is 100 years old, has been volunteering since the Show was held in the Sam Houston Coliseum.
- More than 187,000 stuffed animals were won at the games in the carnival.
- More than 20,000 young cowboys and cowgirls took a ride at the pony rides.
- More than 23,000 people visited the butterfly house.
- More than 9,000 children rolled around the water in giant bubbles.