Feature: World’s largest rodeo show kicks off in Houston

A woman shows some cowboy stuff during the 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston, the United States, March 4, 2014.

HOUSTON, March 4 — The United States’ top breeds of cattle, sheep and horses as well as well-trained cowboys and riders were brought together in Houston this week to relive the Old West spirit at the world’s largest annual rodeo show.
The 2014 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo officially kicked off in Reliant Park in downtown Houston on Tuesday morning for a three-week run. As cold and chilly as it was on the opening day, thousands of people braved the rain to join the city’s biggest annual event.
For professional cowboys, the show offers them a chance to demonstrate their well-honed skills in roping cattle, wrestling steers and riding broncos and compete for big prizes. For most visitors, especially children, the event is simply a lot of fun.
On a hay-covered ground inside the exhibit hall, scores of excited children played with tamed deer, baby boar and lambs. Some petted the baby animals while others screamed and laughed when pulled by the creatures.
A board erected in front of the fence in the area assured visitors of the animals’ welfare, by first asking, “Why are the animals so calm?” before answering: “We treat our animals with lots of love and kindness and pamper them like our pets. They thrive on attention.”
Wearing a huge cowboy hat, one 5-year-old visitor, Christopher, stared at a new-born foal in delight. The baby horse, born just an hour before, could hardly stand up while its mother, a roan standing in a line of pregnant mares, licking her new offspring all over. Christopher smiled, “The baby is so cute. He is even younger than me.”
Chandler Luis, a college student working as intern at the show, told Xinhua that the breeding station serves as an educational platform for kids.
“We have all sorts of animals coming and they are all pregnant. This place is meant to educate the children as well as adults about the birthing process of the animals and how we handle them once they have been born,” said Luis, who has been coming to the show since she was four.
All the kids were guided on their tours by volunteers, most of them high school students there to educate visitors with some basics. Sara Brown, 15, said the organizing committee rewards some of them with scholarships in return.
Dustin Hiett, holding his 18-month-old daughter, said he had frequented the rodeo show ever since he could remember. < “Now it’s her turn,” Hiett said as he hoisted the baby onto his shoulders. “So far, she has been very excited about seeing the animals.”
Hiett is among millions of visitors expected over the three weeks. Last year, more than 2.5 million people visited the rodeo, hitting a new record. The event also brought in 115 million U.S. dollars to the city. Attendance and revenue are both expected to rise this year.
The first Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was held in 1932, and has became the biggest event of the year in the fourth largest U.S. city since then.
Ranked consistently as the world’s largest rodeo — in events, entertainers and spectators — and drawing top competitors searching for a piece of the world’s largest regular season purse, the Houston Rodeo is like the Super Bowl, New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July all rolled into one.
Beside the heated rodeo action, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo also hosts national and international super-star musical entertainers nightly for the sell-out crowds.
Abigail Hawthorne, a staff member from the event’s organizer, explained why the rodeo show is so popular. “It is for everybody. It involves every age group. Everyone who comes here has a sense of participation.”[db:内容2]

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