Complaints surround new system to buy rodeo tickets

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Frustration over the Houston Rodeo online ticketing system is growing among some families.

For Melissa Ensminger, going to the rodeo is a family tradition.


"I went to the rodeo year after year after year," Ensminger said.

This year, Ensminger said she cannot give that same experience to her daughter because of a website malfunction.

"It said, 'Now click here to confirm your purchase,' so I clicked to confirm my purchase and it said, 'sorry, there's an error," Ensminger said, "You are going to have to start over."

Ensminger said by the time she re-entered the online virtual waiting room, the Luke Bryan tickets were sold out. The tickets would have been a present for her 16-year-old daughter.

"Her face got gloomier and gloomier, and she said, 'did you get the tickets or not,' and I said no. We did not get the tickets," Ensminger said, "And she just turned around and walked away."

According to Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo president Joel Cowley, the new ticketing website was successful in making sure tickets go to real users.

"We were able to filter out 2,000 robots or 'bots' as they're called in the industry," Cowley said, "And keep them from getting into the store and gobbling up all the tickets."

Ensminger's biggest complaint is that season ticket holders are getting access to too many seats together. Cowley said that system has not changed.

"We sell over 42,000 season tickets each year, and that hasn't changed over the last 4 years," Cowley said. "Just like any other sporting event in the city of Houston, if somebody wants to buy the entire season, in our case before the line-up is ever announced, that's a good business decision to do so."

Ensminger hopes rodeo officials will think less about business and more about families who want to enjoy the rodeo together.
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