Boot-scootin’, chili cook-offs, and livestock shows part of HISD’s celebration of Go Texan Day

It’s a time-honored tradition for HISD students to kick off the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) by observing Go Texan Day on Friday, Feb. 28. In addition to wearing western attire, HISD schools are building pride in their Texas heritage with a variety of educational programs and events. HLSR is an ongoing source of scholarships for college-bound students, and HISD seniors have received millions of dollars over the past half-century.

Lyons Elementary students began their celebration on Monday, Feb. 24, with “Dance Across Texas” – pre-K through third-graders displaying their dance moves with a program of square-dancing as well as folk dancing.

“It’s important for the students to learn the rich history of Texas and what has gone before them,” said Lyons physical education teacher Myra Erwin, who coaches the children with their dancing. “They need to know about the traditions surrounding the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.”

Most of the boys wore plaid western shirts, jeans, and boots, while the girls favored pink hats and boots to go with their western attire. Fourth- and fifth-graders also participated with western line dancing and social dancing. Parents in attendance were invited to join their children on the floor at the conclusion of the celebration.

Erwin oversees all of Lyons’ activities leading up to the school’s rodeo day on Friday, Feb. 28. A chili cook-off, which is judged by American Legion Post 77, a rodeo in the gym, and a livestock show on the front lawn round out the festivities. Erwin’s son, Evan Ramsey, is in charge of the livestock show. A senior at Sam Houston State majoring in equine science, Ramsey brings in horses, cows, goats, and chickens for a mini-science lesson.

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Here are a few other Go Texan Day and rodeo-inspired events around the district:

  • HISD schools along the routes of various trail riders will meet and greet them as they make their way to Memorial Park on Go Texan Day. The Los Vaqueros Trail Ride makes its way through Bellaire, stopping at area elementary schools to thrill children with horse-petting, a peek inside the chuck wagons, and even the occasional pony ride. The nonprofit organization “Horseshoes From the Heart” facilitates visits to Anderson, Condit, Cunningham, Kolter, Lovett, and Parker elementary schools. The night before, there will be a campfire from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Westbury Little League Baseball Field (5200 Dryad) with entertainment including the Alabama-Coushatta Indians and barbecue dinners for sale benefitting the Horseshoes from the Heart Foundation.
  • Berry Elementary School’s “Berry Rodeo and Plug Into the Outdoors” festival on Friday will feature a mechanical bull, rock-wall climb, petting zoo, pony rides, fair food, and a DJ playing country and western music. Berry is an environmental-science magnet school, so they will also have community-partner booths staffed by Camp Olympia, Texas Parks & Wildlife, U.S. Green Building Counsel, Recipe for Success, Boy Scouts of America, Texas Children’s Health Plan, and Amerigroup Healthcare, among others.
  • Felix Cook Elementary will have a petting zoo for all students with perfect attendance on Go Texan Day.
  • Brookline Elementary is using Go Texan Day to focus on reading by hosting Literacy and Career Day with more than 20 guest readers who will read to students and discuss the importance of literacy. Readers include City of Houston Controller Ronald C. Green, Houston firefighter Marvin Alexander, and Texas Southern University football coaches Lewis Tillman and Cedric Thornton, formerly with the NFL.
  • Farias Early Childhood Center held its Rodeo Roundup on Friday, Feb. 21, with bull riding, pony rides, train rides, petting zoo, authentic Mexican food, and a variety of informational booths.