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7 Best Rodeos Every Texan Should Visit AT LEAST Once


The home of the rodeo.

It’s both a blessing and a curse because with so many rodeos, how do you choose which to go to?!

Well if you’ve never been to one and you want to know the best ones to go to, then we think this list might help.

We’ll be revealing the best rodeos in Texas that every Texan should visit at least once in their lives.

From the oldest to the largest, this list has it all.

7 best rodeos, google map graphic
Google Maps

If you have been to a rodeo in Texas, see if you can find your favorite on this list.

1. West of the Pecos Rodeo

Location: Pecos, Texas

Dive into the wild heart of Texas with a visit to the West of the Pecos Rodeo, famously known as the “World’s First Rodeo.” 

Since its inception in 1883, this event has carved out its place in rodeo history, offering a blend of tradition and thrill that continues to captivate audiences from around the globe​​​​.

Historical Significance

The West of the Pecos Rodeo not only boasts the title of being the first rodeo but has also played a pivotal role in shaping the sport. 

From introducing the Cloverleaf pattern in barrel racing to being one of the PRCA’s top prize money rodeos, its contributions to the world of rodeo are unmatched​​. 

worlds first rodeo sign
Jimmy Emerson, DVM / Flickr

This rodeo’s legacy is steeped in the rich traditions of the American West, making it a must-visit for those looking to experience the authentic cowboy culture.

The Rodeo Experience

Thrilling Competitions

Each year, the West of the Pecos Rodeo showcases over 500 contestants battling it out for top honors in various events. 

From bronc riding to steer roping, witness the grit and skill of the best cowboys and cowgirls as they compete for prestigious titles and a chance to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas​​.

A Week of Wild West Festivities

The rodeo week is packed with events that go beyond the arena. 

Kick off the festivities with the Silver Skull gala, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade, and don’t miss the Old Timer’s Reunion.

Each night, the rodeo comes alive with adrenaline-pumping performances, promising entertainment for participants and spectators alike​​.

Exploring Pecos

Cultural Attractions

Pecos, the home of the rodeo, is rich in frontier history. 

Visit the West of the Pecos Museum, housed in an 1896 saloon and the 1904 Orient Hotel, to explore exhibits of Native American artifacts, rodeo memorabilia, and more​​. 

west of the pecos museum
Kent Kanouse / Flickr

The town also boasts the recreated Judge Roy Bean saloon and courthouse in Centennial Park, a nod to the “law west of the Pecos.”

Nearby Adventures

For those looking to explore beyond the rodeo, Pecos offers attractions like Balmorhea State Park, an oasis in the desert perfect for cooling off from the Texas heat​​. 

if you’re willing to drive slightly further for a bit of history, then you can enjoy a trip to Fort Davis National Historic Site, offering a glimpse into the past.

Plan Your Visit

The West of the Pecos Rodeo occurs annually in summer, bringing together the community and visitors for a week of celebration.

For more information see the link below.

2. San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo

Location: San Angelo, Texas

Immerse yourself in the vibrant heart of Texas at the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo.

This is an event that celebrates the rich traditions of rodeo and plays a crucial role in promoting agricultural education among the youth. 

As one of the largest events in this part of Texas, this annual extravaganza draws competitors and spectators from across the nation.

It offers a wide array of activities that embody the spirit of the cowboy lifestyle​​​​.

Historical Significance

A Tradition of Excellence

The San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo began in 1932 with a mission to support local growth through top-notch events, evolving into a significant cultural and educational phenomenon. 

Today, it stands as a beacon of Texas’ commitment to preserving the Western way of life, offering an array of events that go beyond the rodeo arena​​.

Highlights and Features

The rodeo ranks as one of the nation’s largest in total prize money, and also one of the largest in terms of entries for livestock in the nation.

It’s a gathering that showcases the best in rodeo athleticism, livestock breeding, and agricultural prowess, making a significant economic impact on the region​​.

Not Just a Rodeo

Diverse Competitions

With events sanctioned by the PRCA and WPRA, the rodeo offers a variety of competitions, including barrels, bull riding, calf roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, and team roping. 

It’s a launching pad for rodeo legends, providing a competitive platform for both seasoned athletes and newcomers​​.

Educational and Agricultural Showcases

The stock show is a cornerstone of the event, featuring competitions and exhibits for cattle, poultry, swine, and more.

It’s an educational experience that highlights the hard work of thousands of 4-H and FFA exhibitors, promoting agricultural education and offering scholarship opportunities to deserving youth​​.

Exploring San Angelo

Cultural and Recreational Activities

While the rodeo and stock show are the main attractions, visitors to San Angelo can also enjoy a variety of cultural and recreational activities. 

From exploring historical sites to enjoying the local cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this dynamic Texas city​​.

And don’t forget San Angelo State Park if you want an escape into nature.

Giving Back to the Community

The San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo Association, driven by over 1,000 volunteers, not only aims to entertain but also to educate and give back. 

Through scholarships and other community-focused initiatives, the association demonstrates its commitment to the future of agriculture and the Western way of life​​.

Plan Your Visit

This event normally takes place every year in April.

Find out more at the link below.

3. Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Location: Fort Worth, Texas

Experience the essence of Texas’ cowboy culture at the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. 

Established in 1896, this iconic event has become a cornerstone of Fort Worth’s identity, affectionately known as “Cowtown” for its deep-rooted connection to the Western lifestyle​​. 

Held annually from mid-January through early February, it spans 23 days of rodeos, livestock events, and family entertainment.

With so much on offer, it’s a major draw for both locals and visitors from around the globe​​.

Historical Significance

Pioneering Spirit

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo proudly holds the title of the world’s first indoor rodeo, introducing a competition among cowboys and cowgirls in 1918.

This innovation set the stage for numerous traditions and advancements in rodeo sports, from the introduction of Brahma bull riding (1933) to the creation of the first side-release chutes for bucking horses and bulls​​.

Broadcasting Milestones

It’s also known for its broadcasting firsts, including the first live broadcast of a rodeo in 1932 by NBC and later becoming the first rodeo with live television coverage in 1958. 

These milestones contributed to the rodeo’s national popularity, reinforcing its status as a major event in the American sporting calendar​​.

A Diverse Showcase of Events

Livestock and Rodeo Competitions

The event features a rich variety of competitions that highlight the skill and bravery of cowboys and cowgirls across events like bull riding, saddle bronc riding, and steer wrestling. 

The livestock show is one of the largest of its kind, with participants competing in various categories from cattle to rabbits​​.

Family Entertainment and Education

Beyond the competitions, the Stock Show offers a carnival midway, shopping, animal presentations, and live music, ensuring there’s something for everyone. 

Educational programs and exhibits promote agricultural awareness and celebrate the Western way of life, making it a fun and informative experience for attendees of all ages​​.

Exploring Fort Worth

Heart of Western Culture

Fort Worth is the perfect backdrop for the Stock Show, offering visitors a chance to dive deep into the city’s cowboy culture. 

fort worth stock yards sign

Known as the epicenter of all things Western, the city’s rich history and vibrant present make it an exciting destination for anyone looking to experience the true spirit of Texas​​.

Attractions and Activities

While in town for the rodeo, explore Fort Worth’s many attractions, including the historic Stockyards, museums, and dining establishments that offer a taste of local cuisine. 

Make sure you don’t miss the famous daily cattle drives at the Fort Worth Stock Yards.

Fort Worth cattle drive

Plan Your Visit

Mark your calendars for this must-attend annual event that captures the heart and soul of Texas rodeo culture. 

It normally happens around January/February every year.

Don’t forget that there’s also the Stockyards Championship Rodeo that takes place year-round too.

With a blend of thrilling rodeo action, educational exhibits, and family fun, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo promises an unforgettable experience. 

Find out more at the link below.

4. Mesquite Championship Rodeo

Location: Mesquite, Texas

Step into the heart of Texas rodeo culture with a visit to the Mesquite Championship Rodeo.

As an enduring symbol of the state’s rich rodeo history, this event captures the essence of cowboy spirit.

It offers thrilling competitions and family-friendly entertainment throughout the summer months​​​​.

Historical Significance

The Mesquite Championship Rodeo, originally known as the Mesquite Rodeo, was founded by Charlie Columbus McNally around 1946.

This was following the earlier Pleasant Mound Rodeo which began in 1941. 

Over the years, it’s become a landmark event, drawing attendees from across the region and serving as a pivotal platform for aspiring and seasoned rodeo athletes.

Mesquite’s official designation as the “Rodeo Capital of Texas” by the Texas State Legislature in 1993 further cements its significance in the rodeo world​​.

What to Expect

Thrilling Events

The rodeo showcases a wide array of events, including bull riding, barrel racing, and calf roping, exemplifying the pinnacle of cowboy skills and horsemanship. 

It’s a real celebration of the cowboy way of life, drawing participants and spectators into its electrifying atmosphere​​.

Family-Friendly Atmosphere

The Mesquite Championship Rodeo is an experience for the whole family, with a kids’ zone, interactive games, rides, and a variety of delicious food options. 

A typical night at the rodeo is filled with high-energy performances, live music, engaging commentary, and thrilling displays of horsemanship, culminating in a spectacular fireworks display​​.

Plan Your Visit

The rodeo runs every Saturday from June to August at the Mesquite Arena. 

Tickets are available online or at the arena box office, with various seating options to suit different preferences. 

The event also offers themed nights and promotions, honoring various community members and adding an extra layer of appreciation to the overall experience​​.

For more information see the link below.

5. Rodeo Austin

Location: Austin, TX

If you’re looking for a true Texas experience, Rodeo Austin is where you need to be!

This event is not just big, it’s one of the top ProRodeos in America, making it a massive draw for visitors and locals alike​​.

Historical Significance

Rodeo Austin began in 1938 with a modest stock show featuring just 16 animals.

Now, it has grown into an expansive fair that includes livestock shows, concerts, a carnival, and numerous other attractions​​.

This rodeo isn’t just about entertainment; it’s deeply committed to supporting education, providing scholarships to students since 1981​​.

What to Do

Rodeo Events & Livestock Shows

You’ll get to see top-ranked athletes in action across various competitions like barrel racing, bareback riding, and team roping.

It’s an adrenaline-pumping spectacle that showcases the best of rodeo sports​​.

Live Music

After the dust settles in the arena, the stage lights up with award-winning artists from country to rock genres.

The lineup changes yearly, promising big names and great tunes.

There’s also an exclusive after-hours honky-tonk to keep the party going​​.

Carnival and More

From the moment the fairgrounds open at 10 a.m., there’s endless fun with carnival games, rides, food, shopping, and educational activities.

It’s a full day of entertainment for everyone​​.

Extra Tips

Junior Livestock Show

Don’t miss this!

Young members of 4-H and FFA compete, showcasing their hard work and dedication​​.

Explore Austin

While you’re here for the rodeo, take some time to explore what Austin has to offer.

From vibrant music scenes to delicious food, there’s a lot to see and do.

Some highlights include the Texas State Capitol building, Barton Springs Pool, and watching the bats at Congress Avenue Bridge.

state capitol building

Plan Your Visit

Held annually at the Travis County Expo Center, Rodeo Austin lights up the city each March.

For more information see the link below.

6. San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Get ready for one of Texas’s most thrilling rodeo experiences at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. 

It’s been a key part of San Antonio’s culture since 1950, making it not just a rodeo but a historic Texas tradition.

What’s On Offer

From watching skilled cowboys and cowgirls compete, to enjoying concerts and a carnival, there’s something for everyone. 

This rodeo isn’t just about the exciting sports though.

It’s also a celebration of ranch and cowboy culture, packed with educational programs and fun for all ages.

Explore San Antonio

While you’re in town, dive into more local culture. 

Visit the famous Alamo, or spend some time at the River Walk, full of shops and restaurants. 

san antonio river walk

For a unique stay, check into a nearby dude ranch, like the Rancho Cortez, for the full cowboy experience.

Plan Your Visit

This event is a big deal, known for drawing huge crowds every February.

For more information see the link below.

7. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Location: Houston, Texas

If you want a big rodeo, this is where you wanna be.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the largest rodeo event in the world.

This rodeo has been a Texas tradition since 1932, offering three weeks of thrilling competitions, concerts, and livestock shows.

It’s an extravaganza that draws over 2 million fans annually who get to experience Texas at its finest​​.

Discover the Experience

World-Class Competitions

Watch cowboys and cowgirls compete in traditional rodeo events, including bull riding, barrel racing, and steer wrestling. 

With millions in prizes, the competition is fierce and the talent is top-notch.

Pre rodeo fun

Before the official rodeo begins, immerse yourself in the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest from Feb. 22-24, where over 250 barbecue teams compete. 

Enjoy Go Texan Day festivities, Trail Rides, and the Rodeo Run leading up to the grand Downtown Rodeo Parade. 

These events offer a free taste of the rodeo experience with live music, BBQ, and a celebration of Western heritage​​.

More Than a Rodeo

Beyond the arena, explore livestock exhibits, enjoy carnival rides, sample Texas-sized treats, and catch live performances by famous music artists. 

Kids and adults will both find plenty to do with a variety of attractions.

There’s a petting zoo featuring exotic and farm animals, pony rides, a poultry exhibit, and the “We’re Small Y’all Barn” with miniature farm animals. 

The carnival offers a Ferris wheel with air-conditioned cabins for spectacular views of the rodeo, alongside classic carnival foods like turkey legs and funnel cakes.

There’s something for everyone at this family-friendly event.

Exploring Houston

While in Houston for the rodeo, take advantage of the city’s rich offerings. 

Visit the Museum of Fine Arts, learn about space at the space center, explore Evelyn’s Park, or join a night hike at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary.

Interior of Shuttle at Space Center in Houston USA

Plan Your Visit

This event happens every year during February / March and admission to the carnival is included with any NRG Park Admission ticket or Rodeo/Concert Ticket​​.

For more information see the link below.

Tom Jackson

Tom was born in San Antonio but spent most of his childhood in Dallas, he has lived in several cities across Texas and joined the team in 2024 to create travel guides on Texas.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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