The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo presents the 2018 Downtown Rodeo Parade. Saturday, February 24, 2018.
Every February since 1938 the nation’s fourth largest city is transformed from a bustling metropolis to a down-home celebration of Western heritage.
Decorative floats intermingle with thousands of men and women on horseback to fill the streets with hoof beats and marching bands. Enthusiastic Houstonians join out-of-town spectators to line the streets and sidewalks to be involved in one of Houston’s most popular celebrations!
The first parade, held in 1938, was being planned in the midst of the 1937 Show. J. Howard West, who was the entertainment chairman of the local community leaders, the Jaycees, suggested the idea that it should be “the pomp and ceremony of a Roman holiday.” An owner of a local advertising and public relations firm jumped on the bandwagon to plan the extravaganza. It is doubtful even the Romans could envision such a display of artistic creation and Western pride!
The first parade was led by mounted police escorts to great success! The line-up included state, county and city officials, two bands, and a drum and bugle corps, as well as special VIP guests on horseback.
Today, the Downtown Rodeo Parade includes dignitaries, city, county and state officials on horseback, as well as trail riders, numerous marching bands, and colorful floats. Each float vies for coveted awards, including theme, sweepstakes, president’s choice, and grand prizes.