News / USA

Houston Livestock Show Draws International Crowd

Cowboys, rodeos and prized cattle attract ranchers and other visitors to the annual event

Ranchers present their prized animals for judging at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Ranchers present their prized animals for judging at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
Greg Flakus

The big show every evening at the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is the rodeo competition which includes everything from bronco riding to chuck wagon racing. There's also the event for young ranch hands called the Calf Scramble, where young kids and young cows pull each other to the finish line.

But the real business of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is down in the pens and show area, where ranchers bring their prized animals for judging. Ranchers interested in breeding stock attend these shows, looking to make deals that will improve their stock back home.

Global draw

The three-week-long event attracts more than two million visitors each year, not only from Texas and other parts of the United States, but from all over the world. Ranchers came from Mexico's southern state of Tabasco to look at Brahman, or Zebu, stock.

"Our climate is tropical and humid so we need to add the blood of the Zebu to our cattle," says Gustavo Lastra, who came to buy. The Brahman, originally from India, adapts well to tropical zones and is popular with ranchers from South America as well.

Buying and transporting an animal can be expensive, so many ranchers take a different approach. "What we are trying to take back to improve our cattle is semen and embryos," says Humberto Belloso of Venezuela.

A taste of Texas

Foreign visitors to the Livestock Show are entertained at social events with healthy servings of the local cuisine, including barbecue and the Texas version of Mexican food. It's a place to wrangle some lunch and make a deal.

"They love it," says Bert Marmorato, who serves on the event's international welcoming committee. "They love all the stuff. They can't believe all the food that's here and how big the arena is and how many people come here for the concerts and everything. It's great."

While most of the estimated 10,000 international visitors come from Mexico and other parts of Latin America, there are also people from much further away. One group of 10 came from Thailand, but only one is a stock breeder.

"Apart from me and my wife, all of them are government officials," says the breeder.

Increased demand

As demand for meat grows in Asia, governments there are looking to improve their own cattle-raising industries. However, not everyone from abroad came to the event for breeding stock. Some came to sell their products and services.

Three Israeli companies working with water resource management and animal genetics are on hand. The Autentica company offers genetic tracing using cattle DNA.

"Autentica provides genetic service for cattle," says Guy Evron, project manager for Autentica. "It does parental identification and it does traceability for food safety reasons."

But even those who attend primarily for business say they love to spend their free time mingling with the cowboys and watching them ride.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs