When I moved to Houston 5 years ago, numerous people encouraged me to get involved with the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. You see, the HLSR is a 3-week event, held every March, showcasing champion livestock, world-renowned entertainment, a carnival better than most state fairs, the World Championship Bar-B-Que Cookoff, Texas heritage, agriculture, and, among other things, a Rodeo. Funds raised through the Show are awarded to Texas youth in the form of college scholarships. Its impact on Houston (and, some might argue, the world) is immeasurable. And what’s most amazing about this mammoth event? It’s run by volunteers.
That’s right. Each year, approximately 22,000 volunteers come together on the grounds of Reliant Stadium in organized, well-run committees and donate their time, money, energy, efforts and resources to make the show happen each year. The Rodeo committees are a group of movers and shakers in the community, and, as I would soon learn, getting invited to join this family is, like most everything in life, all about who you know. Lucky for me, through my involvement with the Petite Piglettes (a fabulous buying group involved with the Junior Barrow Swine Auction at the HLSR), I got my in.
And in I got. I worked on 2 committees for my first rodeo, donating a total of 88 hours of my “free time” across the 20 days of the Show. And that doesn’t count all the prep meetings and trainings that happened pre-season.
My 2 committees were Ticket Services and Transportation. Transportation is exactly what it sounds like: we move people. Our committee utilizes a fleet of golf carts, mini-trams, big massive monster trams, and shiny new Ford vehicles to move people around the Show grounds and beyond. The majority of my time was spent driving or conducting a mini-tram, hauling folks between the Horse Barn (Reliant Arena) and the Livestock Show (Reliant Center). I was a rookie, so I didn’t get any “famous” riders (at least not that I know of), but I heard stories about all the international government officials, professional athletes, celebrities and other big wigs that call upon the safe and swift Transportation Committee to shuttle them about. Maybe next year I’ll be so lucky.
Ticket Services Committee was a new addition to the committee family this year. Like many other committees, we were created to meet a specific need. You see, in years past, all the ticket booths were staffed by paid employees of a Ticketmaster affiliate. Someone realized that with as many fine volunteers as we have, we could probably replace some of those paid positions with volunteers and make even more money for the Show, which would mean more college scholarships for the kids. In this, it’s inaugural year, I was very proud to assist my good friend and fellow Petite Piglette, Debi as her assistant captain on the fabulous Ticket Services Committee Team 7. We had a great group of smart, enthusiastic, fun, hard working volunteers who came together to save the Show boo-coodles of money! (I haven’t gotten an actual stat yet, but when I do, I’ll be sure to share it if I can.) We worked hard, and made time for some play, too. If any TSC members are reading this, be sure to RSVP for the wrap-party at Wild West on April 8th. See y’all there!
Now that I’m back to a semi-normal routine (I say “semi-normal” because I’m still house hunting like a mad woman in addition to working my average 50+ hr weeks at the office and everything else I typically have going on), I can look back and be immensely pleased with my involvement with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I made some great new friends, plenty of fun memories, and some personal and professional connections along the way. And, most importantly, I feel like I was a part of something very special to Houston, to Texas, and quite possibly, to the world! It’s not every day one knows they had a part in helping a hard working student go to college. (Aside from being a parent and putting your own youngin’ thru school, that is.)
It sure does feel good to be a part of something so great! I’m already looking forward to next year! Giddy up!
If you, too, would like to be a part of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, check out the committees page for more information.
Oh, and p.s…. Lucky for me, cowboy hats are optional. I never have been a hat girl. Boots, however, are a definite do. I’m still suffering from boot envy. Guess I’ll just have to go shopping!