Rodeo tradition helps heal city touched by Harvey

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The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo may be over, but it was the start of seemingly better days ahead after Harvey. (KTRK)

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo broke its record tonight for concert attendance with the closing night performance by Garth Brooks.

Garth opened the rodeo with both a first and final night concert, and 75,577 in paid attendance now holds the top spot.

The portion of NRG Center where students housed their animals, vying for ribbons and a spot at auction, is now empty. Cleaning crews pushed brooms across the cavernous space, cleaning out the sawdust that covered concrete floors.

Crowds at the midway were about half the number as on earlier days. At the birthing exhibit, lamb, pig and calves born here over the past few weeks were still on display.

"I've come here a lot, but it's the first time I've been with my son," said Laura Serrato, holding 2-year-old Sebastian. "It makes it special."

A pair of Kingwood FFA students were able to see for the first time all that was going on, while they were tending to and showing their animals.

"We just finished this afternoon. Everything's on sale now," said student Caroline Hearn.

The fact they were able to participate in the show might not have happened after Harvey. Kingwood High School flooded, and the FFA barn did as well.

"We owe a lot to New Caney High School because they sheltered us for three months," Hearn said. "If they hadn't, we wouldn't have been able to show livestock here and I wouldn't have been able to show my pig and get in the show ring."

The students were here throughout their spring break. Tomorrow, for the first time since the flood, Kingwood High School students will be back at their own school after massive repairs were completed.

Food concessions prepared for a final crowd after the Garth Brooks concert ended. For one concession manager, the entire rodeo has amazed her.

"Right after Harvey, getting back to this point was unthinkable," said Gloria Durrett, who has managed the Blue Ribbon Sausage concession for six years. "You would never know from the way things have been here, which is a good sign. We need to be uplifted. We went through a lot. Houston went through a lot."

Traditions can overcome a lot.
Related Topics:
societyroad to recoveryhurricane harveyrodeo houstonhouston livestock show and rodeoschoolstudentsagricultureHoustonKingwoodNew Caney
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