3 fun things to do at the Houston Rodeo

Strut your cowboy stuff at the Houston Rodeo, which runs through Sunday, March 21. There is lots to see and do, but make sure to check out the following three events.

1. Cookoff

It was my first year to go and experience the famous BBQ cookoff. Numerous tents were set out, each with their distinct smoky aroma drifting about. Teams turned out delicious food while keeping an eye on the trophy. I tried the Kilowatt Kookers’ great dish with chicken, ribs, brisket, potato salad, beans and all the beer you can drink. The great meal wasn’t complete without the accompanying country music.

2. Carnival

Ahh, the carnival. If you’re looking for a family event, this is the place to go. There are so many rides to choose from that the kiddies and parents alike will be hogging up tickets. For ticket info, go here.

The carnival rides, set up outside, look marvelous when lit up at night. Keep in mind that Houston has some crazy weather, so check the forecast before planning a trip here.

3. Rodeo Show

I just enjoy going to the show every time. Not only do you get a concert, but there are some very fun events leading up to the show. My very favorite is the calf scramble. Kids attempt to capture a calf and it’s so entertaining to see everyones’ strategy and determination. A stubborn calf adds to the difficulty of the capture. Another big favorite, recently added to the line-up in 2009, is Muttin Bustin. This is where five- to six-year-olds ride a sheep, and the child who stays on the longest wins the champion muttin bustin buckle. Other events in the line-up include bull riding, steer wrestling, chuck wagon races and tie-down roping.

A few things to know before going:

* Bring extra cash with you. For example, you may have a ticket for the cookoff but you also have to pay entry to the gate. Plus parking is a whole other fee.

* Parking can range from $10-20. If you park at the Metro Park and Ride, it’s $10 plus $2.50 round trip per person to get on the Metro rail. Parking at Reliant is $12, but they only have specific lots in which to park.

*Leave early to arrive at the show on time. No matter what day of the week you go, there is always traffic.

*For information about parking, special events, tickets and more, go to www.hlsr.com.

–Diana, SMAG Staff

SMAG want to know: What’s your favorite event at the rodeo? Whose BBQ reined supreme? How many carnival rides could you handle?

Correction: You can’t buy carnival tickets online, only at the door. The ticket you purchase gets you into everything–the people at the gates scan the ticket so don’t lose it.

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