It's not just about calf-roping or bull-riding. Rodeo is a part of this city's soul. Everyone gets involved in some way, and the smell of BBQ seems to constantly hang in the air.
Kicking off the festivities is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo's World Championship Bar-B-Que Contest ... or as most Houstonians call it -- "Cook-off." And let me tell you -- it's a Texas-sized party.
The Houston Chronicle sums up Cook-off:
...the rodeo cook-off, a three-day extravaganza that begins Thursday and turns Reliant Park into Barbecue City, U.S.A. About 250 teams will participate in an event that grows more elaborate and festive each year as teams try to outdo each other not just with awesome barbecue but with hospitality and no small measure of showmanship. Last year more than 217,000 people attended the event, which is open to the public (but team tents are private and admission is by invitation only) and generated more than $1.5 million for the rodeo's do-gooder efforts. It's a Texas-size party before the rodeo gets in high gear; a chance for barbecue aficionados to wax rhapsodic about the finer points of smoke ring and bark, and perhaps lasso a prize that earns bragging rights for years to come.
So much more than just beef. The beer flows freely, corks are popped at will ... good times and good music everywhere.
Tents of different teams feature elaborate bars with free-flowing beer, wine and cocktails as well as live music and, of course, food. Friends meet up with friends, often times in cold [but perfect!] "rodeo weather." And it's never boring.
It's a great time of year to be in Houston -- so much tradtion. Great food and even greater people.
Let the fun begin!