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.

Multimedia

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

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid