Tuesday, March 7, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 110

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Rodeo Record

This year's Houston Rodeo shatters all-time attendance mark

By Matthew Fowler
Daily Cougar Staff

Put it in the books.

The 68th edition of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo completed its Y2K run this past weekend by breaking just about every record possible.

"The HLS&R begins its legacy in the new millennium by breaking records and breaking ground," said Mike Wells, president of the HLS&R.

Pete Medrano/The Daily Cougar

The rodeo events at this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo featured some of the most electrifying, stiff competition seen in the Dome in years.

This year's show not only set records for the livestock auction champions and attendance, but this Thursday will be the icing on the cake as city leaders will officially break ground for the new football/rodeo stadium, as well as an exhibition facility, set to be open in 2002.

So, here is a brief recap of some of the highlights from Rodeo 2000.

To be honest, I've had dreams that have seemed to last longer than the past two-and-a-half weeks, but somehow a total draw of 1,889,861 fans found the time and money to attend this year's festivities.

The World's Championship Bar-B-Que attendance was up to a record 176,290, while a record-breaking 133,029 were in attendance on Go Tejano Day.

More than half of the 20 Rodeo performances, featuring a very diverse lineup of concert stars, were officially sold out, 18 were in excess of 50,000 and rodeo paid attendance topped one million for the sixth consecutive year.

As mentioned above, all Livestock Grand Champions were auctioned for record prices, including $560,000 for the Grand Champion Steer, and $129,000 for the Grand Champion Work of Art.

The total auction sales for 2000 were tallied over $9.5 million, with the junior auction sales accounting for $6.8 million.

This year, the HLS&R will also exceed $68 million in scholarship, graduate assistantship, endowment and grant contributions since it presented its first scholarship in 1957.

As for the rodeo events, the Bareback Riding was won by William Pittman III, from Florence, Miss., who took home a total of $13,892.24 in prize money.

The belt buckle and new Astrodome record of 88 points in the Saddle Bronc Riding event went to Billy Etbauer, from Edmond, Okla., as well as a whopping $21,014.91.

The Bull Riding title was taken by Jesse Bail, from Camp Crook, SD., who won $17,325.90 in prize money.

Wyoming native Frank Thompson took home $11,893.21 in winnings, as well as the bragging rights in the Steer Wrestling event.

The Calf Roping title and $9,750.08 in earnings went to the reigning NFR All-Around Cowboy and fellow Texan, Fred Whitfield.

The Team Roping event was also won by Texans as Speed Williams and Rich Skelton took home buckles and $8,954.32 each in winnings.

The ladies' event, Barrel Racing, was dominated by Sherry Cervi, from Marana, Ariz., who garnered a total prize of $16,497.36.

Finally, the Houston All-Around Cowboy title was awarded to Joe Beaver of Huntsville for competing in Calf Roping and Team Roping.

Beaver takes home a rodeo paycheck of $29,491.40, including the $25,000 bonus, as well as a new truck.

With all the hype over this year, what can next year possibly do to top it?

Only 11 more months and counting.

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