Rodeo is a longstanding and beloved tradition in Texas. It’s a time when we can celebrate Texas heritage while having a great time.
The largest rodeo in Texas is in Houston, with over two million attendees annually. The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is one of the oldest, having been established in 1896 at the historic Fort Worth stockyards. Austin and San Antonio have incredible shows each year as well, and put on some incredible feats of bravery and horsemanship.
However, if you really want to experience Texas, you shouldn’t skip the small town rodeos. The big cities can afford the elaborate festivals and bring in big name acts to give unforgettable concerts, but the heart of Texas lies in its small towns. Make a point to attend one of these smaller rodeos this year. You’ll be glad you did.
Big Bend Ranch Rodeo – Alpine
Taking place this year Aug. 12-13 at the Sul Ross University Arena, the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo in Alpine is a truly genuine Texan experience. Sanctioned by the Working Ranch Cowboys Association, the Big Bend Ranch Rodeo brings together real cowboys to showcase the skills they use in their daily work.
Rodeo Giddings – Giddings
If you haven’t been to Rodeo Giddings, you still have a chance to make it out there. Held at the Lee County Sheriff’s Posse Arena in Giddings, this year’s rodeo will be take place April 7-11. The event includes a rodeo dance along with classic rodeo events like steer wrestling, roping, barrel racing and more. Rodeo Giddings is one of the largest outdoor rodeos in central Texas, and has been honored several times as “Best CPRA Rodeo of the Year” (Cowboy’s Professional Rodeo Association).
Belton Rodeo – Belton
Located on I-35 outside of Temple, Belton, Texas has a great small town rodeo. Held in conjunction with the annual 4th of July festivities, the Belton rodeo has been a tradition since 1924. A barbecue lunch, parade and festival are only the beginning of this fun Texas event. Held at the Bell County Expo Center, the Belton rodeo boasts some incredible competitions in a friendly environment that you’ve just got to experience for yourself. This year it will be held from June 30 through July 4, 2016.
Marble Falls Rodeo – Marble Falls
Founded in 1957 by Marble Falls local Charlie Taylor, the Marble Falls rodeo is a great small town Texas rodeo to check out this summer. Held annually in mid July, the rodeo dates for 2016 run from July 13-18. The festivities include a rodeo parade, and the rodeo gives scholarships each year to local high school students.
Cowboy Capital of the World PCRA Rodeo – Stephenville
Folks in Stephenville take rodeo seriously. The small town sits southwest of Fort Worth, and hosts the Cowboy Capital of the World PCRA Rodeo every September at Lone Star Arena. This year’s events will be held Sept. 23-25, and it’s sure to be a spectacular event.
Rockdale Fair and Rodeo – Rockdale
Held every Fall since 1977, the Rockdale Fair and Rodeo is one you won’t forget. You’d be surprised how much fun they can pack into such a small town. Last year featured country music headliners Jerry Jeff Walker and Kevin Fowler, alongside exciting rodeo events like roping and riding. They even host a tractor pull, a livestock show and much more!
Brazoria County Fair – Angleton
The Brazoria County Fair will be held Oct. 14-22, 2016, and it’s sure to be a great time this year just like it has been since 1910. The festivities each year include a livestock show, fair and rodeo in Angleton, and has hosted such acts as Aaron Watson and Randy Rogers Band for a little Texas country music entertainment.
Matagorda County Fair – Bay City
Events at the Matagorda County Fair and Rodeo this year are ongoing from Feb. 19- March 6, 2016. The little coastal town comes alive every spring for this event which includes a barbecue cook off, a beauty pageant, and a livestock show alongside some first rate saddle bronc riding, bull riding and calf roping, just to name a few.
West of the Pecos Rodeo – Pecos
Known as Texas’s longest continuously running rodeo, the Pecos Rodeo began in 1883, and continues to be a Texan tradition. Held each year in the summer, the West of the Pecos Rodeo (as it’s called) takes place at the Buck Jackson Arena in the small, West Texas town of Pecos. It’s just about as historical and exciting a rodeo as we have here in the Lone Star State.
Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show – Mercedes
The Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo takes place March 11-20, 2016 in Mercedes, Texas. This year the headliners feature Justin Moore and native Texan Granger Smith. The rodeo began in 1940, and has continued to thrill South Texans ever since. For some real excitement, check out the “X-treme Bull Riding” on March 16.