After a long hiatus, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo returns today!

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- After COVID-19 caused a shake-up the past two years, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is officially back! Tonight is opening night.

NRG is getting ready for the pig races, petting zoo, carnival and so much more.

The parade this past weekend was just a tease for what is to come over the next few weeks.

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ABC13 got a chance to speak to show opener, Cody Johnson, as he rode a horse through downtown Houston this weekend.

Both he and Mayor Sylvester Turner said they are definitely ready to rodeo.

"It's an amazing honor. I worked a long time for this, to be doing this, to be part of the great city of Houston. It is unreal," Johnson said.

WATCH: Vendors to first day back at Rodeo since 2020 shutdown
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When the rodeo shutdown in 2020, it sent shockwaves through the ground. Two years later, we're speaking to vendors about how emotional this time has been.

"I don't care where you are coming from, you could be from New York, you could come from England, but we put on our cowboy hat, our jeans and our cowboy boots and we show up," Turner said. "It just reflects who we are as a community."

Rodeo officials say more than 150,000 people attended the Bar-B-Que cookoff over the weekend, and the Rodeo Uncorked Wine tasting event brought in nearly half a million dollars just from the top two wines.

There are 350 vendors this year, including 40 new ones and 15 new restaurants.

Gates open to the public at 2 p.m. Monday. The rodeo events start at 6:45 p.m., and Cody Johnson will hit the stage around 8:45 p.m.

According to the AXS website, there are still very few tickets available.

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