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4th generation mariachi band members keep family tradition alive at RodeoHouston

Mariachi Imperial de America has been competing in RodeoHouston's mariachi contest dating back to the late 90s.

HOUSTON — Sunday was "Go Tejano Day" at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The day that merges Texas cowboy culture with the Hispanic vaquero is known to bring out big crowds. It’s also the day of the rodeo’s annual mariachi contest.

Jose Longoria is the director of Mariachi Imperial de America.

"There’s so many types of songs bolero, rancheras, desonas which is mariachi you have to give it all, all the flavors," he said.

Longoria said the band has been in his family for decades.

"Mariachi America has been in existence for a little over 30 years, something that my dad, my father, gave us," he said.

It’s a tradition that has continued through Longoria’s sons -- who are fourth-generation members.

"Very grateful to carry the tradition for me and my brothers to continue what my grandparents, my ancestors that have passed away, started,” Jose's 21-year-old son Zuriel Longoria said.

The group has been competing in RodeoHouston's mariachi contest dating back to the late 90s. They’ve taken home first place and two second-place finishes over the years.

Jose Longoria said leaving with a trophy isn’t everything for the family.

"That’s the important thing -- that the tradition of mariachi continues to grow and doesn’t disappear," he said.

Zuriel went on to explain that it’s an opportunity to showcase their rich Hispanic heritage and put on a good show.

"We're definitely showing the mariachi culture to everybody. If anything, the mariachi culture is starting to grow in the Houston community -- the people love it and we’re just sharing the culture that we love," he said.

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