Originally known as the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has grown in popularity faster than a barrel racer blazing down the home stretch. One of the most prestigious events in the city of San Antonio, Texas, the rodeo is family-friendly and attracts horse lovers, 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) high school students, carnival goers and PRCA rodeo fans. Heck, this rodeo even captivated my husband, and he typically prefers motorcycles over horses. One thing that stands out about this particular rodeo is the over-whelming sense of community involvement. Over 6,000 volunteers donate their time in order to provide Texas youth with scholarship opportunities.
Over 2 million visitors enter the Rodeo grounds to watch bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie down roping, barrel racing, bull riding, calf scramble and the ever-popular mutton bustin! The last two events are, of course, non-PRCA sanctioned events, but they are as fun to watch as any of the other performances with kids, calves and sheep running, willy nilly in the largest indoor arena in San Antonio. I also like watching the color guard perform at the opening ceremony and the special Charro performance toward the end. In fact, my last time in Texas I was able to experience Charreada in San Antonio.
Charro performance by Tomas Garcilazo
So how to describe this popular rodeo in a nutshell – or should I say an alfalfa cube? There are 20 PRCA Rodeo performance on tap over an entire month in February. Over 70,000 animals will parade through the Rodeo grounds with over 450 PRCA and WPRA (Women’s Professional Rodeo Association) contestants competing for prizes. The Rodeo has over 20 stock contractors from across the US and Canada that bring the world’s best bucking stock to San Antonio.
What’s the most popular event at the rodeo? There is a three-way tie by crowd response for Xtreme Bulls, barrel racing and mutton bustin’. The mutton bustin’ event is a crowd favorite! Little buckaroos “cowboy up” and hold on for six exciting seconds! The audience goes wild as these young rodeo contestants take a thrilling ride under the big lights of the AT&T Center. Mutton Bustin’ takes place during every rodeo performance, excluding the finals. Participation is limited to boys and girls between the ages of 4-7 and weighing less than 55 lbs., at the time of competition.
Carmel Wright Barrel Racing
Life of rodeo animals
Some people believe rodeo animals are mistreated. I say rodeo cows and horses lead a charmed life, working very few hours. The world-class bucking stock at San Antonio Rodeo work an average of 5 minutes the entire year. Animal care is very important to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo – and, if you watch the Rodeo, you will be able to see that for yourself. These animals are valuable and are bred for their ability to buck, and they love what they do. The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has a licensed veterinary doctor on premises at all times and they abide by strict PRCA guidelines for animal care.
If I had to pick one food item on the menu from all of the vendors, I’d say the standout would have to be Van de Walle Fajita Corral. The mouth-watering fajitas can’t be beat! Even better is that proceeds from the Van de Walle Fajita Corral go toward the Scholarship Fund. I wasn’t brave enough to tried the deep fried Twinkies or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. What’s your favorite rodeo food?
Whether you are a cowboy, cowgirl or buckaroo, you’ll want to get yourself to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. If you need a hotel recommendation while in San Antonio, I stayed at St. Anthony. Let’s rodeo San Antonio!
Need to know: The Rodeo takes place every year in February and includes a youth rodeo and youth horse challenge. There is also live music entertainment during the Stock Show & Rodeo. Be sure to wear your cowboy hat and cowboy boots if you’ve got them.
If You Go:
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo (210) 225-5851
3201 East Houston Street
San Antonio, Texas 78219
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo review, YouTube video and bottom two photos by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Top photos courtesy of San Antonio Rodeo. I was a guest of St. Anthony hotel, a sponsor of the rodeo.