HLSR President and CEO Joel Cowley Speaks on the Shutdown

Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo President and CEO Joel Cowley talks to Western Sports Round-Up hosts Steve Kenyon and Amy Wilson on The Cowboy Channel about the recent cancelation of the livestock shows, rodeo, and surrounding festivities in Houston. Cowley explains in detail how events transpired, stating that a total shutdown was the only course of action in compliance with the city ordinance.

He also answers questions about what this means for livestock exhibitors’ scholarship earnings and why they were unable to continue the rodeo competition without live spectators to be aired on television.

“We had a commitment in 2020 to give out $14.2 million in scholarships, those are safe,” Crowley says. “We were going to award over $3 million in educational grants, those are safe. Well over $600,000 in graduate assistcance-ships to 11 different Texas colleges and universities, those are safe. $8.3 million to our exhibitors, and certainly the competitions that had completed ... those young people will receive their premium. ... The challenging part now is how to award young people for shows that did not occur ... but our committees that oversee those areas are keenly interested in rewarding those young people somehow. We’re just not sure how we’ll do it yet at this point.”

On canceling the rodeo altogether: “We discussed the potential of conducting the rodeo in an empty stadium,” Crowley says. “When the order was issued, it was clear that was not going to be possible. This is a county property, and reading that order, basically, people have to have permission to come on our grounds at this time, and it really would have contradicted the order had we continued and really wouldn’t have been a shutdown, which is what the order called for.”

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