feb. 24, 2018 — HOUSTON Thousands of early birds gathered on Saturday morning, Feb. 24, in downtown Houston to watch runners, trail riders, floats and Howdy march through the city streets in the Downtown Rodeo Parade, officially kicking off the 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The 31st annual Rodeo Run, presented by ConocoPhillips, led the celebration downtown and had approximately 9,000 participants in the wheelchair race, 10K race and 5K fun run/walk. Since 1988, nearly $5 million in entry fees has been contributed to the Rodeo.


2018 Rodeo Run winners:

Wheelchair – Juan Rios

10K Overall Male – Kevin Castille

10K Overall Female – Peggy Yetman

10K Masters Male – Luis Armenteros

10K Masters Female – Maria Whitworth

5K Overall Male – Will Backscheider

5K Overall Female – Flora Lai

5K Masters Male – Ricky Kramer

5K Masters Female – Maria Villalon


The Downtown Parade began at 10 a.m., and was led by longtime Houston news anchor and grand marshal, Dave Ward. During his time with ABC Channel 13 News, Ward covered the annual parade, which celebrates agriculture, education, entertainment and Western heritage, 49 times.

More than 30 floats, wagons and stagecoaches traveled the parade route which began at Bagby and Walker streets and concluded at Lamar and Bagby streets. Along the route, floats were judged based on creativity, originality and presentation.

2018 Downtown Rodeo Parade float award winners:

Sweepstakes – University of Houston Alumni

Theme – La Michoacana Meat Market

Originality – SupermercadoTeloloapan

Most Beautiful – Goya Foods

Chairman’s Award – Telemundo

President’s Award – La Campera Tortilla Company


Trail Rides at Memorial Park

More than 3,000 trail riders from across Texas and Louisiana arrived in Memorial Park Friday, Feb. 23, just in time to lead the Downtown Rodeo Parade on Saturday morning. The 11 trail rides covered a combined total of 1,345 miles.


The participating trail rides were Mission, Northeastern, Old Spanish, Prairie View, Salt Grass, Sam Houston, Southwest, Southwestern Trail Riders of Houston, Texas Independence, The Spanish and Valley Lodge Trail Ride.


Each trail ride was judged on appearance, authenticity and overall Western spirit.

2018 Trail Ride winners:

Spirit Award – Texas Independence

Spirit Award Posthumously – Sergeant Steve Perez

Division I Award (Large Trail Ride: 145+ participants) – Salt Grass

Division II Award (Medium Trail Ride: 50 – 144 participants) – Texas Independence

Division III Award (Small Trail Ride: 49 or fewer participants) – Old Spanish and Mission


2018 Trail Ride Parade winners:
Best Show Wagon – Sam Houston

Best Appearing Riders – Texas Independence

Top Trail Ride – Salt Grass


The 2018 trail rides continue a more-than-65-year-old tradition that began in 1952 with four committed men traveling by trail from Brenham, Texas, to Houston to gather people for the Houston Fat Stock Show.


The longest trail ride is the Mission Trail Ride. At an outstanding 239 miles, the riders were required to saddle up on Feb. 9. The shortest trail ride, Sam Houston, set out for their 70-mile journey to Memorial Park on Feb. 18.


Opening day of the 2018 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is this Tuesday, Feb. 27. Houston’s greatest tradition will run until March 18­. Tickets start at just $18 at axs.com/rodeohouston.


The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ promotes agriculture by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage and provides year-round educational support within the community. Since its beginning in 1932, the Rodeo has committed more than $450 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2018 Rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 27 – March 18.