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Volume 68, Issue 102, Monday, February 24, 2003

Arts & Entertainment

A good ol' fashioned hoedown

BBQ, parade, carnival among myriad festivities at Rodeo

By Tara Mullee
The Daily Cougar

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo kicked off this weekend with a parade and the annual barbecue cook-off. 

For a few hours last Saturday morning, the Rodeo took over the streets of downtown Houston. The heavy traffic cleared the road for trail-riders, horse-drawn carriages, countless bands, politicians and decorated floats, all for the event that has been called Houstonis most popular celebration. The first downtown rodeo parade was held in 1938, making it a Houston tradition for more than 60 years.

University of Houston President Arthur K.Smith and his wife June Smith are all smiles at the RodeoHouston kick off parade. The downtown parade, which first took place in 1938, has been a Houston tradition for more than 60 years.

Pin Lin/Daily Cougar

BP World's Championship Bar-B-Que Contest drew fewer people this past weekend than last yearis record-breaking 171,428 guests but was still a success. Competitors cooked chicken, ribs and brisket Thursday through Saturday, and visitors paid their $6 admission for a chopped brisket sandwich plate.

Aside from cooking, awards were presented to the most colorful team or contestant, the team with the cleanest area, the team with the most unique pit, the best recycling team and, of course, for best barbecue. Because of this several teams got creative with their cooking equipment, showing up with barbecue pits disguised as fire engines, covered wagons, airplanes and waste disposal trucks.

Among this yearis winners, who received trophies for their culinary skills, were: Mike Weaveris ETBW Memorial Cookers for Champion Ribs, Gene Thompsonis Metro 2 Triple A Cookers for Champion Chicken, Chris Delesandriis Buns and Roses for Champion Brisket, and Jeannie Rankinis Blowing Smoke for Champion Recycling Team. The ETBW Memorial Cookers were also named Grand Champion.

The rodeo begins a family entertainment series this week, featuring shows from jugglers and magicians to a talent competition. The shows will take place outdoors on the Rodeo Plaza stage.

The series starts at 2:30 p.m. Feb. 25 with live music and two acts called the "Backyard Circus" and "Gentleman Jugglers." Magicians will appear (and maybe disappear) onstage Feb. 25 to Feb. 28, and a live band will play each day. March will bring Western-themed acts like "Doggies of the Wild West" and "Calamity Jo's Magical Wild West Show" to the stage.

Amateurs can perform in the talent competition at 6:30 p.m. every day except March 9-10. Winners receive awards and cash prizes.

The series will continue through March 16. For a complete schedule of events, go to

The Rodeo Plaza stage is located in Reliant Park in front of the east-end of Reliant Center by Fannin Street.

The 100.3 KILT Carnival is also starting Feb. 25 at the Rodeo. Those who donit feel like watching magic shows or jugglers can ride roller coasters, carousels and bumper cars, play games, win prizes and visit the funhouse. The carnival is open 4 p.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday until March 16. 

March 16 also marks the day of the School Art Auction, where art aficionados can view works by area high school students; the top 50 pieces go up for auction at noon. Most of the auctionis proceeds go to charity, but the artist keeps a portion for college tuition. Last yearis grand champion, a painting of a cowboy holding an American flag, sold for a record $130,000.

Art isnit the only thing being auctioned off at the rodeo -- pigs, poultry, lambs, goats and cattle will also be up for grabs starting Thursday. Go to for the auction schedule. 

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