Hot concerts, new flavors spice up RodeoHouston 2014

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HOUSTON, TX – It’s February, ya’ll. Time to get your boots shined, your jeans starched, and your Stetson steamed and shaped. Rodeo Houston is just a giddyup away!

Last month, the Valley Lodge Trailriders were already saddling up for their ride to this year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. They got up and out one cold Saturday morning for a practice ride to get everybody warmed up, but soon 3000-plus trail riders will make their treks to Reliant Park via horse or covered wagon, a tradition dating back to 1952.

Rodeo in Houston, though, goes back even further to the Great Depression — 1931. Back then it was called the Fat Stock Show, and garnered nowhere near the 2.5 million visitors who showed up last year. That, by the way, is more than the entire population of Houston!

The first scholarship was handed out in 1957. Since then, the rodeo has raised more than $350 million for education and handed out more than 15,000 scholarships.

But it’s the concerts that seem to be the biggest draw for folks. This year, fiery-haired Queen of Country Reba McEntire returns for her 19th performance. She is one of just five performers to ever sell over a million tickets at Rodeo Houston. Other hot shows this year are Maroon 5, Luke Bryan and Usher. Each of them sold out to “standing room only” almost as soon as they went on sale.

And for you foodies– if you think the 101 different ways to serve bacon at the event have been played out, fear not! The rodeo is introducing a few new vendors this year, including Big Horn BBQ out of Pearland and Polonia, a staple in Houston for a dozen years now, serving authentic Polish food. Kielbasa, anyone?

For an insider’s guide to the rodeo before the big event hits March 4th, check out this month’s Houstonia magazine .