More than 75,000 people came out Tuesday night for the kickoff of
the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, including many enthusiastic fans of the opening performer, Garth Brooks, and others who just really wanted a piece of fried cheesecake. No matter the reason they came, they all dressed for the occasion, from fringe to one serious fur coat.
Houstonians Shane and Sarah came for Garth Brooks, hoping to hear some of their favorites like "Ask Me How I Know." Fringe on skirts, dusters, and boots was a popular choice for rodeo-goers.
This cowboy stood out from the crowd by changing up the more typical jean style and tucking his denim into his boots.
Kelly, a volunteer on the Rodeo Committee from Richland, picked up this Judith March bell-bottomed number at a gift shop in Destin, Florida. She paired it with earrings by Austin designer Kendra Scott for a creative rodeo ensemble we loved.
In matching chain-stitched jackets, three members of Future Farmers of America sold programs before the big show.
Photographs by Todd Spoth
Charlie comes to the rodeo every year and put his opening-night ensemble together from Boot Barn. He was on his way into the carnival, saying: "I've just been introduced to fried cheesecake, and it will change your life!"
This pair of friends sports another of our favorite trends—colorful embroidery for a modern Western look.
This junior cowboy and his family were lined up outside of NRG Stadium for Garth Brooks along with thousands of others over an hour before the doors opened at 6:45pm.
Robert and Mindy, who have been together for 35 years, shared some marriage advice over a drink in the Wine Garden outside of the stadium. "She loves me more than I love her, and I love her more than she loves me," Robert says. "You love the other person more than you love yourself, and if you both do that, then it works!"
John, of Lumberton, found his vibrant yellow shirt in Dallas. He came out for opening night for "beers and bull riding."
We caught up with these three festive friends as they strolled down the street to the Livestock Show before the Garth Brooks concert.
Color coordination is a style key around the Houston Rodeo grounds, with hats, boots, and belts often in the same hue. Lizette's cuffed rhinestone jeans and Western pearl snap were found at Cavender's.
Judy, who is originally from Venezuela, coveted these turquoise King Ranch cowboy boots for three years and finally got them this past Christmas. She says: "I've been waiting for the first day of the rodeo to finally wear them, and I am so excited to be here tonight!"
At 6-foot-8-inches, and dressed in head-to-toe fur, "The Mountain Man," as he calls himself, was stopped often for selfies, which he was more than happy to oblige.
"The Mountain Man" has been coming to the Houston Rodeo for 20 years and has been adding on pieces to his all fur costume each year.
Mother/daughter duo Kari and Abby decided to make their inaugural appearance at the rodeo together, and were most excited about seeing Garth Brooks.