Wednesday, January 20, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 75

On the Air

Is Country Going Mainstream?

About the Cougar

Shine yer boots and shape yer hats for the Livestock Show and Rodeo

By Matthew Fowler
Daily Cougar Staff

It has been rumored that, down here in Texas, we like to do things a little bit bigger than everybody else. 

In that case, it comes as no surprise that every late February and early March the city of Houston plays host to the world's largest livestock show and rodeo.

Featuring top-notch musical entertainment, first-class rodeo competition and one of the finest horse shows in the nation, Houston's rodeo continues to offer attractions that appeal to all ages, ethnicities and heritages of the nearly 2 million fans who attend annually.

The 1999 version of this 66-year-old tradition will begin with the World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest and other Go Texan events held Feb. 11 through 14.

The livestock show, rodeo and carnival will officially open Friday, Feb. 19, and run through Sunday, March 7. All events take place at the Astrodomain complex, but optional transportation will be available through the Rodeo Metro Express shuttle bus service, which will transport people into the city from throughout the greater Houston area.

New to this year's show is a weekday schedule change attempting to give fans quality rodeo and concert performances while still allowing them time to get home at a reasonable hour.

Here is the new format: At 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, there will be a Rodeo Lovers' Early Bird Special. The price is already included in the $12 ticket and features calf roping, bareback riding, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and bull-riding events.

After the conclusion of the early rodeo performance, there will be an intermission until the feature rodeo performance begins at 7 p.m.

Following the grand entry, a maximum of six cowboys per event will compete in the feature rodeo performance. There will also be chuck wagon races, a complete barrel-racing competition and calf scramble.

Finally, the laser and light show extravaganza and traditional superstar concert will wrap up the evening.

The weekend's scheduled starting times, however, will remain the same as last year's -- 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays.

As for the musical talents representing the 1999 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, there is a greater diversity among the artists than ever before as one-third of the scheduled performers are not country acts. Of all the performers, nine of the artists have been nominated for a combined total of 21 Grammy awards in 1999.

The first week of entertainment will begin with Hank Williams Jr. and all his rowdy friends jump-starting the party Friday, Feb. 19. Featured at the matinee performance Feb. 20 will be Neal McCoy, who is quickly becoming a fan favorite, while the evening show features Houston's own Clint Black.

The Feb. 21 twilight performance features Faith Hill, one of the seven new faces this year. Feb. 22, Shania Twain will rock the Dome at an already sold-out show, giving way to Reba McEntire, who showcases Feb. 23 and 24.

Another fan favorite, Alan Jackson, makes his eighth straight Rodeo appearance Feb. 25, while Wynonna returns for a show Feb. 26.

Black Heritage Day, Saturday, Feb. 27, features a fantastic early show by R&B artists Brian McKnight and Monica, while the evening show will be highlighted by John Michael Montgomery.

The second week of Rodeo events begins Sunday, Feb. 28, with Go Tejano Day, featuring David Lee Garza reuniting with Emilio, Ram Herrera, Jay Perez and Oscar G. Two consecutive performances will given March 1 and 2 by the popular duo Brooks & Dunn.

Enrique Iglesias makes a surprise, first-time appearance March 3, while Vince Gill will serenade March 4. Lionel Richie "dances on the ceiling" March 5, while Saturday, March 6, has the early show reserved for the group Sawyer Brown and the evening show for the tandem of Kenny Rogers and the group Lonestar.

Clay Walker will close out the rodeo March 7 with a great show that is almost sold out.

While this year's show promises the same brand of quality entertainment that has made the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo so successful, it is the motto "Benefiting youth and supporting education" that the organization and its volunteers and supporters live by throughout the year.

All the net proceeds will go to support charity, including college scholarships.

Reach Fowler at

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