The carnival scene at the Houston Rodeo is always a major attraction. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Some NCT 127 fans wore surgical masks in the last concert before the Houston Rodeo was canceled . (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
The food always takes center stage at the Houston Rodeo. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
At the Houston Rodeo, food rules. (Photo by F. Carter Smith)
Blake Knowles loves the adrenaline rush of steer wrestling. Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.
The growing health threat and wildly spreading fear over the coronavirus has claimed the Houston event that many thought never would be canceled. Yes, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is shuttering on orders from the City of Houston and the Houston Health Department.
“The Rodeo will respectfully and dutifully comply with the City’s order,” Rodeo officials declared in a statement. “The Rodeo is deeply saddened; however, the safety and well-being of our guests and our community is our top priority. Out of precaution, the City has decided that this is the best course of action for our community.”
Just like that, the mega event that’s been a fixture in Houston since 1932 is done about halfway through its scheduled 2020 run. The carnival is closed, all the concerts are canceled — including Friday night’s highly anticipated Lizzo show — and the cowboys are scattering. The fairgrounds will be officially closed at 4 pm today.
The ordered cancelation comes on the heels of Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner issuing a seven-day emergency health declaration for the city. In a press conference, Turner says everything changed for Houston when the latest confirmed coronavirus case in the area — a Montgomery County man — was determined to not be travel related.
The man also may have attended the Rodeo BBQ cook-off. Turner says there is no evidence the man attended any of the Rodeo concerts.
Turner’s declaration and the growing wave of cancelations puts a number of major Houston sporting events at risk of being called off as well. These includes the Houston Astros’ season opener on March 26, the NCAA Tournament’s South Regional at the Toyota Center on March 27 and March 29 and more pressingly time wise, Houston Rockets’ home games on March 17, March 19 and March 21.
No cancelations have been ordered for these events yet.
The World Health Organization has declared that global coronavirus crisis is now officially a pandemic. Few things will make that hit closer to home in Houston — which now has 14 confirmed cases in a city of six million, including the Montgomery County man who is considered the first case of possible community spread — than calling off the Houston Rodeo.