HOUSTON — The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo announced Tuesday that it will return in May 2021.
RodeoHouston competitions, concerts and entertainment, Carnival and other attractions and activities are now scheduled for May 4, 2021, through May 23, 2021. They were previously scheduled to take place from March 2, 2021, through March 21, 2021.
The plans rely on COVID-19 health conditions being safe at the time. The Junior Livestock Show and Rodeo will still be held in March.
“This isn’t about us being the first to close, the first to open,” said Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo president and CEO Chris Boleman. “It’s just about us trying to give some hope and some optimism and happiness.”
“What we’re really doing is buying time, right,” Boleman said. “ To see where we are and what the world is going to look like. And because this May timeline was presented and worked for us here, we decided we should take advantage of that.”
But if the world is not dramatically healthier by May, and the show can’t go on as planned, Boleman said the 2021 rodeo season would likely be canceled altogether, and the focus would be shifted to the 2022 season.
“You never say never, right? But at some point, it’s pretty clear to me that once we get through May, we would really have to take really hard look at closing the books and moving ahead," he said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner responded to the announcement Tuesday stating that he is optimistic that vaccines will improve the chances things will be back to normal by the middle of 2021.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo released a statement which reads in part:
“We still do not know if hosting a mass gathering like the Rodeo in May will be feasible, safe or advisable, and it may well not be.”
“With the evolving health situation, we have made the decision to move the 2021 Rodeo from March to May, with the exception of our Junior Livestock and Horse Show competitions, to be held as planned in March. We remain dedicated to fulfilling our mission to support Texas youth and hosting a long-time Houston tradition," Boleman said.
Events related to the Rodeo that are typically held in January and February are also scheduled to change to coincide with the May Rodeo. These events include:
- Downtown Rodeo Parade
- Rodeo Run
- Trail Ride activities
- Rodeo Uncorked!
- Roundup & Best Bites Competition
- World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest
Details for those events will be announced when they're available.
Rodeo officials said that moving the dates provides a better opportunity to host the events. More details will be shared by early March.
Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo issued the following statement regarding the plans:
“The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is part of the DNA that makes up who we are as Harris County. It’s an incredible forum for world class competition, entertainment, and scholarship. We desperately wish we could return to normal with a regular show in the Spring. Sadly, we are far from reaching a point where any gathering is advisable, let alone one the size and scale of our rodeo.
"Over the past several months we have remained in close touch with rodeo officials to provide them with the latest guidance from public health officials and have had very productive conversations. We will continue to do so. We still do not know if hosting a mass gathering like the Rodeo in May will be feasible, safe or advisable, and it may well not be.
"Even with the potential of a vaccine on the horizon, we need folks to channel that optimism and take action now to prevent the spread by canceling gatherings, getting tested, and following public health guidance. Right now, we’re far from the finish line, but there is a finish line in sight.”