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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Life + Arts

Rodeo fulfills higher cause

Many attend the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo strictly for the entertainment, whether it is because of the superstar performers or the carnival. While it does incredible entertainment, the rodeo also provides one more thing – funds for Texas education.

Since 1932, $235 million has gone to support scholarships and educational programs in Texas. From 2006 to 2008, 915 scholarships, equaling approximately $12 million, were given out. This year, almost $11 million will go toward the rodeo’s commitment to education.

All of the scholarships are available to Texas students intending to enroll at a Texas college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree.’

For those that volunteer at the rodeo, this devotion to education is an important reason for their own commitment.

‘The rodeo does fantastic work with education. All the money they make goes to education in Texas,’ said political science junior David Tucker.’

A member of the wine competition committee and yearly rodeo attendee, Tucker only became involved as a volunteer this year.

‘ ‘I got involved because I wanted to serve. I wanted to be a volunteer in something I support,’ he said.

One aspect of the rodeo’s commitment to education that he is particularly impressed with is the Rodeo Institute for Teacher Excellence.’

The institute goes to Houston schools and trains teachers to teach reading to their students.

‘If there are 100 doors in front of you, 95 are closed (if you don’t know how to read). The point of education is to have doors open to you,’ he said.

‘ The rodeo also sponsors a school art program. Open to students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, all forms of artwork are accepted, as long as it demonstrates a Western theme. An art auction is also held for the best artwork with a majority of the proceeds going toward the student artist. Last year, Jennifer Light of Spring ISD sold her piece ‘Packing Up’ for a record $185,000.

Some might dismiss the rodeo as strictly country entertainment, but for many students it provides an educational opportunity they might otherwise not have.

‘This opportunity for (rural) kids in Texas is an incredible thing. This is great exposure for them,’ Tucker said.

For those interested in supporting the rodeo’s commitment towards education, the best thing one can do is to go to the rodeo as all profit goes to supporting Texas education. Another easy way to support the rodeo’s goal is to become a member, which only costs $50 a year.

If a more hands-on approach is desired, the rodeo also has committee work. The committees run everything at the rodeo from safety and transportation to wine, member services and even lambs and goats. More than 21,000 volunteers give their time to the rodeo each year supporting the committees.

The ‘incredible show of volunteerism’ by Texans impresses Tucker. ‘

‘The rodeo is a cause that only will expand and continue to do (good) in education,’ he said.

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