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Family Rodeo Guide

Woman riding a horse around a barrel Other Sports

Saddle up and get ready to take in some amazing competition at the rodeo. Depending on the event, a rodeo may last up to a week with activities scheduled both in and out of the arena. This family rodeo guide will give you a quick overview of the sport and provide some tips on how guests of all ages can best enjoy the rodeo experience.

Organizations like Professional Bull Riders (PBR), Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), and Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) host rodeos throughout the year.

Rodeos are a celebration of cowboy culture that is welcoming to those wanting to experience the sport. Read on for more information in this family rodeo guide on how to make the most of your rodeo experience.

What to Expect 

If it’s your first time at the rodeo, you’ll be in for quite a show. Most rodeos consist of seven main events: tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, bull riding and barrel racing. For WPRA events, competitors take part in four rodeo events: barrel racing, team roping, breakaway roping, and tie-down roping.

Barrel racing and breakaway roping are two events where women can compete during PBR and PRCA-sanctioned events. Barrel racing involves a rider on her horse circling three barrels in a clover formation in the shortest time possible. Breakaway roping is a type of calf roping in which a lasso is thrown around the calf’s neck, but the calf remains untied.

Many of these competitions offer prize money, but it’s also an honor for winners to take home a prized belt buckle, which is as prominent as a championship belt in boxing. 

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

One of the largest national rodeo events is the Houston Livestock Show And Rodeo (HLSR) held annually in downtown Houston, Texas and kicks off with a parade complete with floats and horseback riders accompanied by marching bands. Catch a break from the thrilling rodeo events to enjoy other parts of HLSR like the carnival complete with games, a funhouse and a rollercoaster. 

If you enjoy great food, be sure to check out the World’s Championship BBQ contest, with a junior championship for children between the ages of 8 and 14. After the contest, feel free to sample the abundance of ribs, brisket and dutch oven desserts. 

Make sure to stick around for the post-rodeo concerts, which have featured past performers like Luke Combs, Dolly Parton, For King & Country and KEM. The HLSR also hosts Rodeo Rockstar, an amateur music competition free for participants ages 6 to 21. The concert lineup for 2023 includes popular country artists like Brooks and Dunn, Chris Stapleton, Jason Aldean and the Zac Brown Band.

With classic rodeo events, livestock competitions, live music and more, there will be no shortage of fun that people of all ages can have at this rodeo. 

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Youth Rodeos

While PBR and PRCA hold the honor of being some of the largest rodeo organizations in the world, with tours like the Unleash The Beast Series, it can be nice for the kids to see competitors their own age taking center stage. One option for rodeos like this would be the Florence Junior Parada.

The Florence Junior Parada is the oldest youth rodeo in the United States, with the first junior show taking place in 1933 in the town of Florence, Ariz. The Florence Junior Parada hosts kids from the ages of five to 16 competing in events like calf riding, barrels, team roping and more. 

Along with these exciting events, the Florence Junior Parada also puts on a tribute concert that has featured music from popular country artists. 

What to Wear

Throw on your best Western wear and join the crowd. Nothing helps to forge connections like a cool pair of cowboy boots paired with good denim. Top the rest of your outfit off with the crowning glory of a cowboy hat. While you don’t have to shell out a fortune for a felt or wool creation, even a simple straw cowboy hat can help put you into the rodeo mindset and get excited for the events to come. 

If Western wear isn’t your style, opt for something comfortable that you don’t mind getting dirty when the dust flies up from the ring.

What to Bring 

While many events are held in a rodeo arena, some may take place outside, so you may want to pack jackets in case it gets chilly. For rodeos that feature extra attractions like a petting zoo with goats or horse rides for the kids, it’s a good idea to bring some hand sanitizer and hand wipes to help with clean up. If the venue allows it, bring your own snacks and save a few bucks. 

Before getting to the venue, check out the bag policy if you need to cart around items like diapers, toys and other essentials to keep the young ones entertained and comfortable. 

Buy Family Rodeo Tickets 

Get the family together and enjoy a day of Western celebration when you get rodeo tickets through TicketSmarter.