CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy)—Rodeo season has returned to Katy, with the 74th annual Katy ISD Future Farmers of America Livestock Show and Rodeo scheduled for this week.
The rodeo takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, at the L.D. Robinson Pavilion, 6301 S. Stadium Lane. The pavilion is next to the Merrill Center.
The rodeo supports agricultural education within the Katy Independent School District, and is held with the school district’s annual Future Farmers of America (FFA) livestock show.
The Katy ISD Livestock Show and Rodeo Association, a non-profit organization, puts on the rodeo with the help of other Katy-area organizations, including the Lions Club (carnival), Knights of Columbus (concession stands), and the VFW (ticket stands).
Last year, the association donated $65,000 to FFA programs in the Katy ISD. Gary Johnson, rodeo association chairman/president, said the association has donated more than $500,000 over the past decade.
Johnson said the money is allocated to schools for leadership events and development courses. Funds are also available on a case-by-case basis for special projects.
Johnson is in his 18th year in rodeo leadership, and his ninth as chairman/president. He said the biggest change he’s seen in that time is the increase in the number of students participating in the rodeo.
“It raises community interest,” he said. “More and more requests come from media to share our story with them.”
The rodeo is part of the Cowboys Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA). Johnson said the rodeo has been recognized for high-money payouts to participating cowboys and cowgirls in recent years. Last year brought another honor: the rodeo received the 2016 CPRA Cowboys Choice Outdoor Rodeo Award.
“In layman’s terms, it means the cowboys and cowgirls want to come here because we put on a good show,” Johnson said.
Johnson said his favorite part of the rodeo is the youth events, such as stick horse racing and mutton racing.
“It’s a thrill to see the smile in their faces when they participate,” Johnson said, adding that their participation can inspire future involvement in FFA. “I could go on for hours about the benefits of participating in FFA.”
Ironically, Johnson said he himself didn’t participate in FFA activities when he grew up in southwestern Louisiana, although his wife, Donna, did. He credited her as his strongest supporter.
“Without her, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do,” he said.
While the rodeo performance begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, rodeo-related activities began Wednesday. A swine weigh-in was set for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., a special rodeo at 10 a.m., and a rabbit show at 4 p.m.
Thursday’s activities include an 8 a.m. swine show and a 1 p.m. steer show.
The rodeo carnival is from 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. Thursday and Friday, and 12 p.m. – 12 a.m. Saturday, next to the rodeo grounds. Gate price is $25. Pre-sale tickets are available at Brookshire Brothers, 5249 Franz Road, and Traditions Bank, 701 Pin Oak Road.
Friday’s activities include a 7:30 a.m. goat show, a 10 a.m. lamb show, a 12 p.m. check-in horticulture show, and a 1 p.m. auction sale meeting.
Saturday’s activities include a 7 a.m. barn sale, an 11 a.m. buyers’ luncheon, and a 1 p.m. auction. But the highlight of the day will be the rodeo parade scheduled to go through Katy.
The parade begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. It departs from the west gate of Rhodes Stadium onto Katyland Drive and ends at the L.D. Robinson Pavilion on FM 1463.
Gates open at 7 a.m. at the east gate of Rhodes Stadium on Fort Bend Road for participants. The theme is “Boots, Chaps and Cowboy Hats.” There is no charge to participate in the parade.
Pre-registration for the parade ended Monday. Registrations on parade day will be accepted at the stadium. All registrants must complete a waiver and release from liability form.
Registrants are advised that registrations on parade day could delay the check-in process for their entries.