Midtown Houston Celebrates the Historic Buildings of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with Graphic Art Installation

Midtown Houston is thrilled to announce the installation of a captivating and colorful graphic artwork at Bagby Park. This artwork, installed on the oversized Midtown letters, pays tribute to the rich history and iconic venues of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (Houston Rodeo), a cultural institution that holds a special place in the hearts of Texans. Showcasing the event’s evolution, the Midtown letters have been transformed into a stunning depiction of the Sam Houston Coliseum, the Astrodome, and the NRG Stadium, representing the three historic buildings that have hosted the event over the years.

The Houston Rodeo, originally known as the Houston Fat Stock Show and Livestock Exposition, was established in 1931 by a group of visionary individuals. Their mission was to preserve the cattle industry along the Texas Gulf Coast region, and little did they know that their humble gathering would evolve into the world’s largest livestock exhibition and rodeo. The event’s history is deeply intertwined with the development of Houston, and its venues have become the city’s beloved landmarks.

The journey began at the Sam Houston Hall in downtown Houston, where the Fat Stock Show was held regularly until it outgrew the space. In 1936, the organizers decided to look for a larger venue, and the Sam Houston Hall was unfortunately demolished. The rodeo had to be canceled in 1937 due to the construction of the Sam Houston Coliseum, but it made a triumphant return the following year. The Sam Houston Coliseum became the new home, providing a larger space to accommodate the parade, carnival midway, and rodeo that had become integral parts of the event.

In 1957, a significant moment in the event’s history occurred when the Texas State Legislature granted Harris County the authority to issue bonds for the construction of a new stadium to attract an NFL team to the city. The ambitious project included not only a stadium but also an air-conditioned coliseum. With the generous donation of 230 acres near South Main St. from the Show, the Astrodome, the “8th Wonder of the World,” was brought to life in 1961. This new venue showcased the growth and success of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The iconic Astrodome became a symbol of Houston’s pioneering spirit and innovation.

Over time, the rodeo continued to expand, reaching new heights in the 1990s with activities spread across 20 days. In 1999, the City of Houston welcomed the Houston Texans, a new NFL franchise, and it was at this moment that the event joined forces with Houston NFL Holdings and Harris County to build a new Rodeo/football section. The culmination of this partnership came in 2002 with the final rodeo performance of country legend George Strait at the Reliant Stadium, now known as the NRG Stadium. The NRG Stadium stands as a testament to the Show’s enduring legacy and the city’s commitment to creating world-class venues.

The graphic design adorning the Midtown letters at Bagby Park beautifully captures the essence of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The vibrant colors represent the breathtaking sunsets that grace the Houston skyline, while the trail riders depicted on the letters M through W showcase the diverse, multicultural makeup of Houston. The Sam Houston Coliseum, the Astrodome, and the NRG Stadium take center stage on the sign, symbolizing the cherished buildings that have played vital roles in the Show’s history. Western elements such as cacti, horseshoes, longhorn skulls, cowboy boots, and guitars pay homage to the rodeo theme and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s deep-rooted connection to Texas culture. Additionally, an oil rig is featured on the letter W, a nod to Texas being the largest oil-producing state in the nation. 

We invite you to visit Bagby Park at 415 Gray St. to witness this remarkable artwork that celebrates the historic buildings of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo until March 19th. As Midtown Houston, we are honored to contribute to the celebration and appreciation of our city’s rich cultural heritage, and we encourage you to explore other unique aspects of our vibrant community.