LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) -Wednesday’s news of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s cancellation due to the coronavirus outbreak has attendees- including a judge from Lubbock- packing up, after months of preparations.
The event has a large impact on the Houston economy, jobs, and Texas scholarship opportunities.
“There’s a backlog of trying to get them in here, so they can try and get these people and cattle out of here,” said Nelson Hogg of Lubbock showing controlled chaos through a video conference from inside the event just after news of the cancellation. “And now they have been moving these heifers out of the barn and getting them back home.”
Hogg has been a steer superintendent for the junior market for the past 15 years and he says the cancellation has caused a lot of work to go down the drain and had some people shocked at the news and now focused on going home, adding the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was possibly the last opportunity for some cattle.
“Those cattle don't have another option except to go to market and so there's no alternative to show for them. It's pretty much the last show of the season.”
According to a letter from the chairman, Jim Winne, on the events’s website, last year’s show and rodeo brought more than 34,000 entries to the horse and livestock shows and the junior auction sales totaled more than 17 million. Now families, vendors, and organizers are left wondering what’s next.
“And then all the expense involved of getting the animals purchased, getting them fed and prepared for a show. And then you know, all of the expense of getting down here, you know, motel rooms and east and travel experiences.”
According to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s website, the whole event has an economic impact of 227 million dollars.
"I know there's a lot of disappointed people,” said Hogg. “I think we've overreacted a bit, but if it's truly an emergency, these things need to be considered.”
The event was scheduled to go through March 22nd.
Scholarships will still be awarded.