Rainy weather plagued Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo set up crews, barbecue cooks and trail riders Wednesday as they finished the final preparations for the first few nights of the pre-Rodeo season.

The Texas Independence Trail Riders had an early start to the day as they rode from the Johnson Space Center to Pasadena to camp overnight. The riders were able to miss most of the rain, and the greatest weather threat to riders: lightning.

“Well you’ve got to be safety conscious,” said Texas Independence Trail Boss Jeff Simpson. “With the lightning and stuff like that we watched the weather in the morning it looked like it was going to be past us. Some riders chose not to ride, but we did and we were good."

Barbecue cook-off teams were busy seasoning thousands of pounds of meat in preparation for the cook-off.

The rain, humidity and cooler temperatures can affect the length of time the meat is cooked, cooks said.

“It makes our cooker cook at a different temperature,” said Karma Que cook Tim Pregler. "You have to keep it at a higher fire. This particular one is not affected because it’s covered. Some of our other ones aren’t, so we’re putting in a little more wood because it keeps the temperatures lower.”

The Karma Que cooks said they will be smoking 1,500-pounds of meat, enough to feed 3,000 people, over the next few days.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo starts on Thursday.