What's new at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo this year

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Monday, February 27, 2023
Opening Day festivites top slate of what's new at the rodeo this year
It's the moment rodeo fans have been waiting for. But whether you're new to town or have lived here all your life, there are still new things to know.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- It's February. Translation: It'll soon be time for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

This year's event kicks off on Feb. 28 and runs through March 19.

But do you think you know all there is to the rodeo?

Organizers have made some changes, from new food, shopping and places to hang out, to an all-day affair on opening day.

Here's your guide to what's new in 2023.

Date and time changes

Feb. 28 - March 19: Gates at NRG Park open at 8 a.m. daily

Tuesday, Feb. 28 - Opening Day

  • Special giveaways including custom-made Howdy bobbleheads for the first 10,000 paying guests beginning at 10 a.m.
  • The Opening Day Parade starts at noon on NRG Park grounds
  • Houston's own The Suffers will perform at 2 p.m. on the Stars Over Texas Stage followed by the Chinedu Comedy Show at 4 p.m.
  • Conroe native Parker McCollum will perform on the RODEHOUSTON stage
  • Starting at 7:30 p.m., check out a Glow Party in the Champion Wine Garden. Wear your favorite glow in the dark accessories or pick up a giveaway item
  • The Champion Wine Garden will also feature music from The Powell Brothers on the Main Stage or Randy Burghardt on the Lone Star Stage.

Wednesday, March 8

  • All guests get in free until noon
  • Buy one, get one rides and games in the Junction Carnival area until 4 p.m.
  • Discounted food and beverage at the Junction until 4 p.m., including $3 mini corn dogs at McKinney Corn Dog, $3 small popcorn at Kid Shack, $3 small sour apple lemonade at Squeezers

New food vendors and shopping

You'll have even more places to chow down with the addition of Pretzel Bros, Texas Skillet, Asian Streetness by Moi and Vietnamese Grill. And if you've got the urge to splurge, more shopping options are available in art and leather goods to clothing and shoes, the latter of which include brands ARIAT, Lucchese, and H Bar C Ranchwear.

New Carnival Midway foods

Hot Nashville Cheeto Chicken Sandwich or on a Stick: Nashville Hot sauce on extra crispy chicken with slaw on a toasted brioche bun. Nashville Hot chicken on a stick is smothered in cheese sauce and rolled in Hot Cheetos and topped with crisp pickles. Available at Biggy's II.

Fruity Pebbles Shrimp Fried Rice Bowl: Delicious fried rice, with fruity pebbles shrimp, sausage and pineapple served hot and fresh in our delicious, hollowed pineapple. Available at Get Fried.

Honolulu Hog Spud: Baked tater stuffed with pulled pork, teriyaki BBQ sauce, pineapple, and sesame seeds. Available at Spud Ranch BBQ.

Rodeo Caramel Crack Sundae: Ice Cream sundae topped with chocolate dip, caramel corn and drizzled with caramel topped with chocolate cowboy hat. Available at Swirl Ice Cream.

But wait, there's more!

  • Fruity Pebbles Funnel Cake
  • Captain Crunch Funnel Cake
  • Deep Fried Krispy Kreme Banana Split
  • Cowboy Slushi
  • Hot or BBQ Wings
  • Candied Grapes
  • Rodeo Donut Cheeseburger

New carnival rides

Raptor Coaster: This is described as a spectacular high-speed thrill roller coaster with extreme inversions, sharp bends, twists & turns.

Sea Ray: This new pirate-themed ship swinger is a memorable ride that families can enjoy together with its smooth swinging motion.

Say cheese!

Inside NRG Stadium, you'll find the Fan Zone, where you can create a personalized 'player card' and send it straight to your phone. You'll also still be able to get autographs from and snap photos with cowboys and cowgirls.

The Fan Zone is on the main concourse level in section 124. A second Fan Zone is located in section 103. You'll need your rodeo ticket to get into the stadium.

Drone Show

This year, the rodeo will have its first ever drone light show. That means 200 drones will soar through the sky in different formations.

Catch it starting at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, March 4 over NRG Arena.

Going cashless - in some places

All NRG Park parking lots will be cashless, though you can still use cash in surrounding lots like OST, 610 and Reed Road.

If you're in the Champion Wine Garden, you can only use debit or credit cards.

The majority of stands will still accept cash, credit and debit cards, but some concessions in NRG Center, NRG Stadium and NRG Arena will be cashless.

The Carnival will accept cash and card.

Where to hang out

Topo Chico Hard Seltzer's Backyard

Open to all Rodeo guests before and after daily RODEOHOUSTON performances. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer's Backyard is located on the east side of the Astrodome, near the Junction.

Miller Time Bar

This public beer garden will have music, seated areas, yard games, giveaways, and Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. Miller Time Bar is located on the north side of NRG Stadium, near the McNee entry and Coca Cola gate.

Brunch at the rodeo

Start your Sunday Funday with brunch at the Champion Wine Garden each Sunday from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Try bubble flights and food trucks, plus enjoy live music.

  • March 5 - R & B Brunch with Bo Bottoms
  • March 12 - Latin Brunch with Bamuaya
  • March 19 - Jazz Brunch with The Greg Petito Jazz Trio

Roping and wild card rounds at the rodeo

Women's Breakaway

Women's breakaway roping will now be held 20 consecutive nights of RODEOHOUSTON. The sport debuted at the rodeo in 2022 and was previously held for seven performances.

Wild Card Rounds

RODEOHOUSTON will split its previous one-day Wild Card round into a two-day event, eliminating the RODEOHOUSTON Super Shootout from the schedule.

  • Wild Card round 1 will be held Friday, March 17
  • Wild Card round 2 will be held Saturday, March 18
  • The money from RODEOHOUSTON's previous one-day Super Shootout event will now be redistributed toward the RODEOHOUSTON Super Series purse.

New local qualifiers

RODEOHOUSTON will add two new local qualifiers, the Fort Bend County Fair and Rodeo in Rosenberg, Texas, and the Waller County Fair & Rodeo in Hempstead, Texas, replacing the former qualifier, Sandhills Stock Show & Rodeo in Odessa, Texas. Champions in each of the approved eight events, from each respective Rodeo, will be extended an invitation to compete at RODEOHOUSTON in 2023.

Special occasion buttons

Go shorty, it's your birthday! And now you can announce your special day loud and proud!

Stop by any merchandise stand on NRG Park grounds or a Guest Services Booth inside NRG Stadium to pick up a "My First Rodeo" button or "Birthday" button. For Spanish speaking guests, look for volunteers with the "Hablo Español" button for assistance.


There are public parking lots near NRG Park, which cost $25 to enter. You may also want to try taking the free trams from parking lots and the grounds as well as to and from NRG Center and NRG Arena. Follow this link to download the map of service routes.