As I look forward to my third and final year of serving as the Rodeo’s chairman of the board, I want to say thank you for your continued support of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
2019 was truly an exciting time at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. There were more than 2.5 million total attendees during our 24-day event, and we were proud to welcome visitors from 75 countries, which is a remarkable achievement. We would not be able to successfully host the world’s largest livestock show and rodeo without the support of our community and our incredible volunteers.
As a longtime Rodeo volunteer myself, it is especially meaningful that we reached 35,000 volunteers this year, our highest number ever. With these dedicated individuals giving considerable time and energy to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, we are able to increase our support of Texas youth and education year after year.
We committed $27 million to scholarships, junior show exhibitors, educational program grants and graduate assistantships for 2020, which means that the Rodeo surpassed $500 million in our total commitment to youth and education since 1932. With more than 19,000 scholarship recipients to date, including 2,300 current scholars, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is one of the largest scholarship providers in the country, and this diverse group of scholars represents more than 80 different Texas colleges and universities.
2019 was also a successful year for our dedicated livestock exhibitors. Our livestock and horse shows drew more than 34,000 entries and our junior auction sales totaled more than $17 million. Several of our Grand Champion and Reserve Champion lots set world or Rodeo records and it was an honor to see so many of our exhibitors rewarded for their tireless work and preparation for the world’s largest livestock show.
When I first started volunteering with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 1980, I knew I was part of something truly special and unique to the city of Houston, and I consider myself lucky to have been part of this great organization for more than 30 years.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is so honored to be such a beloved tradition in this community. We are grateful for the support given by our hard-working volunteers, donors, sponsors, community partners, elected officials and of course, those who call Houston, and Texas, home.
It’s because of the amazing contributions from our volunteers that our organization can successfully host our annual event and make such a significant impact on the educational aspirations of Texas students.
The Rodeo and the people I have met throughout my years of volunteering hold a very special place in my heart, and I am truly honored to be among the 35,000 volunteers who share a passion for supporting the Rodeo and its charitable mission. As I enter my final year of my tenure, I want to say thank you for your continued support of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Serving as chairman of the board has been quite a ride, now lets get ready for another great year.