Houston’s annual rodeo couldn’t have come at a better time as the recent drop in oil prices continues to weigh down the energy industry in Texas. The month-long event features traditional cowboys and livestock auctions, concerts, shopping and dining. Last year, it brought in nearly $500 million and created more than 3,000 jobs. CCTV America’s Ginger Vaughn filed this report from Houston.
Texas rodeo ropes in international interest and 3,000 jobsHouston's annual rodeo couldn't have come at a better time as the recent drop in oil prices continues to weigh down the energy industry in Texas. The month-long event features traditional cowboys and livestock auctions, concerts, shopping and dining. Last year, it brought in nearly $500 million and created more than 3,000 jobs. CCTV America's Ginger Vaughn filed this report from Houston.
The Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston is a celebration of western tradition, including cowboy pastimes such as roping and riding.
In addition to the competitors, about 120 physicians, chiropractors, massage therapists, paramedics and orthopedic specialists also volunteer during the rodeo to provide preventive care and treatment before, during and after events, according to the Houston Chronicle.
A 2007 study by physician Daniel J. Downey, found that the prevalence of rodeo rider injury in high. In bull riding, the incidence of injury was 32.2 per 1,000, or 3.2 per 100. Many of the injuries can be prevented, Downey said, but there’s resistance from cowboys and organization rule makers to use protective headgear and many athletes return to the sport despite injuries and rarely seek medical care.
When comparing bull riding injury statistics to data for 15 men’s and women’s sports from the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the level of rodeo injury is second only to men’s football.
Outside the pen, auctions for cattle, horses, sheep and pigs are also a highlight of the event. The livestock auction brought in more than $14 million last year from bidders all over the country, and this year it’s expected to generate even more. Proceeds help fund scholarships for hundreds of college students in the livestock industry all over Texas.
International interest in livestock, especially cattle, brings in ranchers from more than 80 countries to bid on the best breeds to learn how to improve their stock and meat supply.
“Mexico, Central America, South America, they’re going to have the largest presence here, but after that – it’s a little bit from everywhere,” Carruth Gerault of the Rodeo Houston said. “They have bought approximately three million dollars in cattle and genetics. People are buying the genetics because they are improving their herds back home.”
Columbian cattle broker Alejandro Velezmoro markets beef genetics to Latin American buyers using Japanese “Akaushi cows” to make better breeds. At the grocery store, the price of Akaushi, which is lower in cholesterol compared to other meats, can cost as much as four times the amount of regular beef.
“Akaushi is very well known as kobe beef. We are very interested in the marbling because you get more dollars out of the cattle. So when you cross them with other cattle, you are able to get more money and your business gets more profitable,” Velezmoro said. “Brazil and Argentina, they have introduced Japanese cattle into their own cattle. For example, in Chile, they are big on this cattle, they are crossing these cattle and exporting them to China and the United States.”
The Houston rodeo serves as a lucrative opportunity for smaller businesses as well, such as Rick Bishop and his wife who own Western Tradition, a hat company that has been selling western hats here for over 35 years working at rodeos is his only business.
Bishop has been coming to the Houston rodeo every year for the 35 years he’s been in business.
“I’ve seen it evolve. It’s gotten much larger and it’s a great show. They do a lot for the kids scholarships. There’s no other show in the country like that that does so much for the kids,” he said.