Horse events and rodeos are in the spotlight at livestock shows across the United States.
If there’s a chill in the air, it means it’s time to gear up for livestock shows around the United States.
Dedicated exhibitors will grab their jackets, load up and head to their local stock show with animals in tow. While always traditional places to show cattle, hogs and sheep, livestock shows also offer rodeos and plenty of equine events. Many have capitalized on the increasing interest in ranch horse competition, hosting American Quarter Horse Association Ranching Heritage Challenge events, along with AQHA versatility ranch horse classes.
Livestock shows are typically multifaceted events in their communities. They bring in visitors and have a big economic impact; involve community members as volunteers; and help youth through scholarships.
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, for example, gave $11.5 million in 2017 to Texas youth through scholarships, grants, endowments, auctions, a calf scramble and show premiums, according to Lauren Sides, communications and public relations manager for the SASSR. In 2017 more than 17,000 students were introduced to the stock show through its school tours program, and more than 2 million visitors attended.
“At the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, our goal is to provide an agricultural educational experience for our urban audience to be able to interact with livestock, while providing a platform for youth competitions,” says Chief Strategy Officer Glen Alan Phillips.
With its total prize money of $1.7 million, the rodeo is one of the largest regular-season Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association events, and has 12 times been voted the PRCA Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year.
Although it’s a smaller event, the Arizona National Livestock Show also is vital to its community and state. It attracts about 2,000 entries each year from Arizona and beyond, and brings in thousands of spectators. The Arizona National also awards about $40,000 annually in scholarships.
Check out these livestock shows that are planned for early in 2018.
Arizona National Livestock Show
December 27-January 7
Highlights: The 19th annual Arizona Working Ranch Horse Competition is for horses from Arizona’s working cattle ranches. Entrants are required to execute a series of maneuvers common in everyday ranch work, and show their ability to work cattle.
Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo
Highlights: The Sandhills rodeo ranks among the top of PRCA-sanctioned rodeos in the United States, and attracts nearly 1,000 contestants.
National Western Stock Show
Highlights: Among the horse show activities is the $20,000 RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining, in which riders in often elaborate costumes circle, stop and spin their way through routines set to music.
Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
January 12–February 3
Fort Worth, Texas
Highlights: The first few days of the stock show is called Ranching Heritage Weekend. It features the Best of the West Invitational Ranch Rodeo, always a crowd-pleaser, along with an invitational ranch horse show and sale and the Best of the Remuda Sale.
Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo
January 26–February 4
Rapid City, South Dakota
Highlights: A two-day horse sale and the Hutchison Western Stallion Row give prospective buyers many options and mare owners plenty to look at. The Stray Gathering, open to any four-man team, kicks off the stock show.
Dixie National Livestock Show
Highlights: The Dixie National is known for its horse shows—especially its Quarter Horse show—but also hosts a farriers’ competition
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo
San Antonio, Texas
Highlights: The Youth Horse Challenge, open to Texas 4-H and FFA members, showcases the ability of young horsemen to train a horse. Contestants must keep records, demonstrate knowledge of tack and equipment, display groundwork skills, and ride in rail and trail classes.
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
February 27–March 18
Highlights: RodeoHouston features the 19-day Super Series and the one-day Super Shootout: North America’s Champions. Total payout exceeds $2 million, and the rodeos attract some of the biggest names in the industry.
Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show
Highlights: A full horse show with Western and English classes includes high-point awards in six divisions, and a scholarship to high-point winners who are members of 4-H or FFA.
Rodeo Austin and Austin Stock Show
Highlights: The PRCA-sanctioned rodeo is one of the top 10 professional rodeos in the United States, and two horse shows—including a 4-H Instructional Show—are offered.