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Fresh on the heels of the 2017 Super Bowl, Houston is once again front page news. Every March the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (March 7–26), the largest in the world, comes galloping into town, bringing with it three weeks of wild and crazy antics: think a combination of mardi gras, Mall of America and Spain’s running of the bulls.

And, it’s not all just for fun and hoopla. Since the rodeo began in 1930, the show has awarded more than $450 million in scholarships, research, endowments and other educational youth programs. Read on for 6 more reasons to ride the rodeo hard.

RELATED: Houston’s 5 best all-you-can-eat buffets

Everyone at the rodeo wears a hat…so should you!

1. Texas-sized shopping
You’ve never seen more bling on the planet than at the rodeo. Be awed by bejeweled boots, sparkling belts, shimmering jackets, jeans and gems, as well as upscale Western wear and leather everywhere. And it wouldn’t be Texas without a hat; cowboy, ten-gallon, baseball cap or otherwise. Send home a massive leather massage chair or Wild West Artwork or buy something smaller to fit in your bag like barbecue sauce, Maple Bacon Candy or a Tennessee Moonshine Cake.

Mouth-watering ribs are delicious!

2. Texas cuisine
This is the C-A-P-I-T-A-L of barbecue, so you’re sure to get your fill of mouth-watering beef brisket dripping in succulent, savory sauce. To kick off the event, the rodeo sponsors an invitation-only World Championship Barbecue Competition for ribs, brisket and chicken. More than 350 teams compete for the top honors. Hankering for everything bacon? Try the bacon-wrapped turkey leg, chocolate-dipped bacon or even bacon cotton candy. Getting bigger every year is anything and everything deep fried, including Twinkies, pickles, Oreos, cheesecake on a Stick and even brownie balls. You’ll also find Texas-sized chili with Fritos and onions, or brisket tacos. You won’t leave hungry.

It’s called “mutton bustin’!”

3. Calf-roping, barrel racing and more
Have yourself some good old-fashioned fun by watching classic rodeo events. From calf-roping and bareback riding to barrel racing and bull riding, you’ll find plenty of thrills and excitement. There’s two competitions: The Super Series is a 19-day tournament that crowns a champion in seven events, while the Super Shootout is just one-day with competitions in five events. Even the little ones get into the act with mutton bustin’. Watch as they cling onto a sheep, while the crowd cheers them on.

Grand Champion Steer of Show

4. Animal House
This is where the rodeo started. You may not be there to buy a championship horse, but these animals are real beauties. Across the state, youngsters in 4-H clubs and adults bring their sheep, steer, lambs and more and compete to be named a Houston champion. At the Birthing Center, you can watch baby animals being born and there’s a petting zoo for the kids with rabbits, pigs, llamas, and pony rides.

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5. Off-the-Charts Entertainment
From country to rock and everything in-between, live music takes the stage with performances this year by Alicia Keys, Alan Jackson, Meghan Trainor, Willie Nelson, Brad Paisley and more. Check the schedule for details. Meanwhile, carnival rides, games, camel rides, “Fun on the Farm, Adventure,” a wine garden and so much more awaits.

6. One heck of a parade
The Conoco Phillips 5 and 10K Rodeo Run takes place March 4 and includes more than 10,000 runners. Don’t miss the Downtown Rodeo Parade on the same day. Decorative floats, marching bands and folks on horseback line the downtown streets dressed like it’s the Wild West. For just a short time in Houston, it is!

For more information, look here y’all.

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All photos courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Tagged: Family time

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Mira Temkin

Mira Temkin

Lover of lore with a thirst for adventure, Mira has her bags packed -- ready to go in a flash. She writes with spirited soul about destinations, hotels and spas.

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