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Time to kick up your heels at the rodeo! Here's what you need to know

RodeoHouston is finally here and that means it’s time to party with your boots on! We have some tips for rodeo rookies.

HOUSTON — The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a fun family-friendly event that runs through March 17. 

For those of you who aren’t from around these parts -- and anyone else who's not a rodeo regular -- we’ve put together this guide with everything you need to know before you rodeo. 

Why should you go?

There are a thousands of reasons the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo attracts millions of country and city folk every year. We’ve compiled our own top 11 list:

1.   It’s a good bang for your buck. Where else can you see Chris Stapleton,        Kacey Musgrave or Cardi B for as little as $20 a pop. Your concert ticket also includes the nightly rodeo action, the carnival and the livestock show.  

2.   The nightly concerts include a diverse lineup of country, pop, rock, R&B and Latin music.

3.   The food is fabulous! Come hungry and leave your diet at home. And don't worry about the calories in all that fried food -- you're going to do A LOT of walking to burn them off. (Tip: If your cowboy boots aren't already broken in,  wear sneakers)

4.   The courageous kids who take part in the mutton bustin’ and calf scramble each night at RodeoHouston will make your heart smile.

5. There's a carnival area for little kids on the east side closest to Fannin.

6. There are pony rides and petting zoos in the carnival area and inside NRG Center.

7.   You can get up close and personal with pigs, cows, llamas, bunnies and all kinds of livestock at NRG Center.

8.   With good timing and a little luck, you might witness calves, pigs or sheep give birth at AgVenture inside NRG Center. You can also see baby chicks hatch there.

9.  There’s shopping galore inside NRG Center. Tip: Come during the day when it's not so crowded and take your time browsing through the aisles.

10. If you’re looking for a fun date night with your sweetheart, a spring break outing with your besties or a great way to entertain the kiddos, RodeoHouston is just the ticket.

11.  From pint-sized cowpokes to country club cowboys to the real deal, the people-watching alone is worth the ticket price!   

It's for a great cause!

The Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show has awarded more than $475 million in college scholarships through the years.

HLSR has presented nearly 19,000 scholarships since the first one was awarded in 1957.

Currently, more than 2,400 students are on HLSR scholarships, attending more than 80 different Texas colleges and universities.

Any high school graduate who lives in the Lone Star State and plans to attend a Texas university is eligible. Click here for more information on how to apply.

These bull fighters (aka rodeo clowns) risk their lives each night to keep the bullriders safe. (HLSR photo)

That's no bull!

The rodeo competition kicks off inside NRG Stadium each night and features some of the top cowboys and cowgirls in the country. 

 It’s a 19-day tournament-style competition that awards cash to the top scorers each night. The final weekend, event champions will be crowned in bareback riding, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, team roping and women’s barrel racing. Each champion gets $50,000, a custom saddle and belt buckle and bragging rights.

Between the rodeo competition and concert each night is a crowd favorite: The calf scramble. Fifteen kids chase 30 calves around the stadium floor until all of them are caught.

The crowd cheers the kids on as the calves dart across the dirt in one of the most chaotic and entertaining events of the Rodeo.

The fifteen kids who catch a calf are awarded $1,750 to buy a heifer. They'll raise it for a year and then bring it back to show at next year's Livestock Show.

The stars at night are big and bright ...

The rodeo competition is followed by a nightly concert featuring country, pop and R&B superstars. 

Here’s the 2019 lineup: 

Feb. 25: Kacey Musgraves

Feb 26: Prince Royce

Feb. 27: Brooks and Dunn (Armed Forces Appreciation Day)

Feb. 28: Luke Bryan

March 1: Cardi B (Black Heritage Day)

March 2: Turnpike Troubadours

March 3: Panic! at the Disco

March 4: Old Dominion (First Responders Day)

March 5: Camela Cabello

March 6: Luke Combs

March 7: Tim McGraw

March 8: Zedd

March 9: Kane Brown

March 10 Los Tigres del Norte (Go Tejano Day)

March 11: Zac Brown Band

March 12: Kings of Leon

March 13: Santana

March 14: Chris Stapleton

March 15: Cody Johnson Band

March 16: Brad Paisley

March 17: George Strait, Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen (No rodeo competition but carnival and livestock show are open)

RELATED: 

24 years ago today Selena performed her last televised concert

 Kacey Musgraves surprises RodeoHouston fans with Selena’s ‘Como La Flor’

Photos: 2019 Rodeo concert lineup

Dance the night away

If you didn't score tickets for George, Cardi or the other hot sellers, you can still enjoy free live music and dancing each night in The Hideout. 

The Rodeo's very own honky tonk has a big dance floor, bars and some of the best up-and-coming musicians.

It's open nightly from 6 p.m. to midnight in the giant white tent on the west side of NRG Arena. You must be at least 21.

Here's a list of the performers.

Rodeo on the cheap

If you’re on a tight budget, there are a couple of easy ways to enjoy the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo without breaking the bank.

If you  plan to go more than once, you should consider a season pass. The $35 pass gets you into the three-week rodeo as many times as you want. The season pass includes grounds, carnival, the livestock show and Hideout concerts. It doesn't include the rodeo and concerts at NRG stadium.

Daily HLSR grounds tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for children 3 to 12. Kids 2 and under are free.

Another money-saver is Value Wednesdays on Feb. 28, March 7 an, March 14. Tickets are only $5 for adults. Kids 12 and under and seniors 60 and over get in free.

On Value Wednesdays, you can also enjoy: $2 carnival rides and special food items in The Junction Carnival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; $5 off a minimum $25 purchase of official HLSR merchandise; Special prices from some food and merchandise vendors. 

And finally, you can buy discount carnival packages before the show kicks off. For $10, you'll get $34 worth of tickets. The $50 package is worth $133. 

What to wear

You don't need to spend a fortune to look fabulous while you embrace your inner cowboy or cowgirl. 

In fact, you might already have the right fashions in your closet. 

For women, if you wear anything with the popular Boho chic look, you'll fit right in. Think embroidery, modern hippy and/or fringe. Bonus points if you add boots and a cowboy hat. 

A jean jacket, jeans and boots can help women and men pull off the the right look.

If you don't want to spend a fortune on cowboy boots, you can find less expensive versions online, at resale stores and even at local Western stores like Cavender's and Boot Barn. Or wear your favorite booties. TIP: Don't try to break in a new pair of boots at the rodeo. You'll be doing a lot of walking. 

For accessories, Houston stores are full of fun and affordable jewelry and at the rodeo, the more bling the better. Turquoise is always in style, whether it's the real deal or the less expensive version. 

No time to shop before you go? No worries! NRG Center is full of rodeo fashion and accessories in all price ranges. 

33,000 volunteers

Almost all of the RodeoHouston employees are volunteering their time.

"The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ would not be the amazing success story that it is today without the dedication and hard work of its 33,000 volunteers," organizers say.

Those volunteers are members of 107 committees that do everything from serving wine to selling tickets to picking up animal poop.

By donating their time, the volunteers help the rodeo raise more money for scholarships since they don't have to spend it on paid employees.

Click here to learn more about volunteering for HLSR. http://www.rodeohouston.com/Get-Involved/Volunteer


Just the ticket

You can buy a ticket for the grounds, carnival and livestock show at several log cabins around NRG. They’re $15 for adults and $5 for kids ages 3 to 12. Or you can skip the lines and buy tickets online here.

If you want to attend the nightly rodeo and concert, your best bet is to buy your ticket in advance. A lot of people buy season tickets, so some shows sell out before the rodeo starts. For ticket information, click here. 

If you have a ticket for the rodeo and concert, you don’t need a separate ticket for the grounds. It’s all included.

How to get there

The easiest and most stress-free way to get to the rodeo is to let someone else do the driving!

You can catch a ride on the Metro Rail for $2.50 round-trip and it drops you off at the stadium. http://www.ridemetro.org/Pages/RedLine.aspx

The Rodeo Express Metro buses offer service to NRG Park from the Maxey Rd., Monroe, North Shepherd Park & Rides or the West Loop Transit Center.

Round-trip shuttle prices 
Maxey Rd., Monroe Park & Rides and West Loop Transit Center: $4
North Shepherd Park & Ride: $6.50

Ride Sharing

  • Uber and Lift drop-offs and pick-ups are in the Green Lot.
  • Entrance Gate 13D off Westridge from the north bound lanes of Main Street is the only access to the lot. There is no left turn lane access allowed from the south bound lanes of Main Street.