Arts & Entertainment

Your LGBTQ Guide to This Year’s Rodeo

Performers include queer fan favorites Kacey Musgraves, Brendon Urie, and Cardi B.

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Kacey Musgraves, Brendon Urie, and Cardi B are among this year’s performers at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.

Sadly, the Out at the Rodeo events appear to have fizzled again this year. Although the organizers’ Facebook page has been inactive since February 9, 2018, that in no way means you can’t still be out at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this year—and every year.

The musical offerings are highly anticipated every rodeo season, with the wealth of musicians ranging from headliners to those who are new to the scene. This year’s entertainment line-up is peppered with LGBTQ and ally musicians, including ally Kacey Musgraves on Monday, February 25; Panic at the Disco, fronted by pansexual singer Brendon Urie on Sunday, March 3; and Cardi B, who has both a bisexual history as well as a bisexual sister, on Friday, March 1.

Other rodeo offerings are as diverse as our own community. So no matter what your  interests are, you’re likely to find the perfect way to get your rodeo on. If you want to get the tip-to-tail rodeo experience, you should start with the unofficial kickoff to the festivities, Go Texan Day.

On Friday, February, 22, residents of the Bayou City are invited to “celebrate Western heritage and raise awareness of Rodeo season” by donning wear Western attire including  jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hats for Go Texan Day. Many local organizations often jump in with their own hosted events designed to both promote and celebrate the rodeo and Texas culture.

The World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, running from February 21 to 23 this year, is another enduring pre-rodeo favorite. The event allows you to enjoy great food as well as up-and-coming musical talent. Plus, you can get a jump-start on the carnival rides and games. Other pre-rodeo events include the Best Bites Competition, Parade, Rodeo Roundup, Rodeo Run, Trail Rides, and the Wine Show & Auction.

When the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo begins in earnest, you’ll be hard-pressed to see it all in one visit. The Livestock and Horse Show is a major draw that includes auctions, sales, and the fan-favorite calf scramble. You’ll find live music throughout the rodeo, along with shopping, dining, and even a wine garden. The carnival is always hopping with games and rides for kids of all ages.

You can visit AGVENTURE if you want to discover nearly every species of livestock, along with several live-animal exhibits. And don’t miss the Ranching & Wildlife Expo, designed for those who love hunting, fishing, and camping. The expo sets out to “enhance educational programs that promote the conservation and co-existence of ranching and wildlife habitats.”

Families will want to leave plenty of time to play at The Junction (previously called Kids Country). The Junction has kid-focused rides, games, exhibits, and an antique double carousel at the center of the fun. It also boasts the entertaining and educational farm-to-market exhibit, Fun on the Farm.

The rodeo proper offers the Super Series, the Super Shootout, and Rodeo 101. Whether you are new to all things rodeo or an old hand on the circuit, you’ll find an event that will make you fall in love with the rodeo for the first time, or all over again.

A plethora of special events are on tap this year as well, from Armed Forces Day to Black Heritage Day to First Responders Day to International Days. Special-needs events are planned as well. And if your family includes seniors or kids, you’ll want to mark your calendar for Family Wednesday on February 27, March 6, and March 13 this year. Seniors 60 and over, and children 12 and under, get free NRG Park admission until 7 p.m. (which does not include rodeo/concert admission). Guests can also take advantage of $2.00 rides and games from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., along with a $2 food or drink item at select food stands in The Junction carnival area.

If you’ve never experienced the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, it’s time to ask yourself what you’re waiting for. You can find everything you need to plan your own rodeo outing at—tickets, maps, a schedule, as well as info about guest services, parking, and VIP tours. So grab your cowboy hat and boots, because it’s rodeo time in Houston!


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Jenny Block

Jenny Block is a frequent contributor to a number of high-profile publications from Huffington Post to Playboy, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex, and O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm. She has appeared on a variety of television and radio programs from Nightline to BBC Radio, and has spoken in bookstores and at events all across the country. Block is also a featured performer on Olivia Travel cruises and resorts.

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