My Experience as a RodeoHouston Volunteer

For 3 years, I have had the privilege to be a member of the Communications & Special Services committee at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. If you have never been to this rodeo, I encourage you to do so!  I have been to many rodeos and this one is the biggest and the best! HLSR was founded in 1932 to promote western heritage, entertainment, education and agriculture.  The event, also known as RodeoHouston, runs for 20 days in March.  In addition to the paid staff, there are 33,000 volunteers on 107 different committees working hard to make this event run smoothly.

The Communications & Special Services committee was formed in 1972 to help promote the Show. Our committee of 170 members works under the umbrella of the marketing group taking surveys, hosting the press box, and doing photography for several other committees.  I asked my teammates for 1-2 words to best describe our volunteer experience, here are some of their responses: family, rewarding, proud, extreme gratification, humbling, inspiring, life-changing, team work, youth & education, for the kids, absolutely awesome, service with friends, community, and tradition.

We are the people in the black vests walking around the grounds or at the entry gate inside the stadium asking for 2 minutes for a survey. Next time we ask, please say yes! Marketing uses this information to obtain entertainer preference information and audience demographics.  In 2017, we set another record by taking more than 16,000 surveys!

Another area of service our committee provides is photography.  I am 1 of the 12 photographers.   I am thankful to be able to blend two of my favorite activities – volunteering and photography.  We take photos of the calf scramble winners, several awards for other committees, contestant head shots and full body shots, and the meet and greet with entertainers and fans.  Two of the most popular photo assignments are taking head shots for the participants in the Mutton Bustin’ event (we photograph over 100 children in one hour), and the Top Hands Horse Show for physically challenged children and adults.

This year my 50+ hours of volunteering was spent: attend 3 meetings, 5 rodeo performances for stadium survey and calf scramble photos, 1 ground survey, and 2 special photo events (Livestock Judging Awards and Top Hands Horse Show).  I enjoy cheering for the calf scramble contestants as they walk downstairs for the competition full of determination and excitement.  I like to see the pure joy and often exhaustion on the faces of the winners as we take their photos with the event donors.

I once heard a rodeo executive say “we are a family of families”.   I am so thankful to be a part of this rodeo family and this wonderful committee.  For as long as I am physically able to perform, I will proudly serve this great event.

Simply stated – I love this rodeo!  I already miss my team, the smell of good BBQ, the sights and sounds of the rodeo and carnival, the great entertainers, and of course ….. cowboy butts!

What is your favorite part of the rodeo?  What organizations do you volunteer for?

…..And Life Goes On 

For information on the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo:

For information on the calf scramble and to see our photos:



  1. Susan Ebanks de Boisblanc | 14th Apr 17

    I love that you love it! I think the rodeo is such an important part of our Houston culture. Thank you! I have the privilege of being the Volunteer Coordinator for Honor Flight Houston and love honoring our most senior Veterans. I was blessed to accompany some of our WWII veterans to RodeoHouston this year on military appreciation day – they had such a good time. We all loved it!!

    • Shelly | 14th Apr 17

      You do such great work with the veterans! I know how much you love it! Thank you for your service!

  2. Kerri | 15th Apr 17

    You have me itching to go to a rodeo. Perhaps one day, I will make it to the Houston rodeo. Thanks for all of your volunteer hours throughout the years. You are inspiring. Hmmm, I may need to really consider what volunteering I will do.😀

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