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Humble Rodeo & Cook-Off means ‘something special’ to community

February 2, 2019

The Humble Rodeo & Cook-Off has begun.

For eight days beginning Feb. 1 the Humble Civic Center is host to the annual, two-stage event featuring barbecue, musical acts and cattle-based sports. The rodeo debuted in Humble in 1947.

The Cook-Off activities are held this weekend while rodeo events are scheduled for Feb. 8 and 9.

Adam Foster, president of the Humble Rodeo & Cook-Off executive committee, said he has high hopes for the 2019 iteration due to a herd of changes, including the return of the carnival after an 11-year hiatus.

There is no need to buy a rodeo ticket to go on the rides at the carnival, he added. Individual ride tickets are available on-site; each ticket is $1, and rides take 2 to 5 tickets per person per ride.

“People come out here to make memories of coming out here,” Foster said. “There’s just a lot of history when you come in here — it’s not just coming to to the rodeo or coming to the fair. It means something for the community.”

This year’s cook-off has 122 participants, 28 fewer than last year.

Cookers compete with each other for honors and cash prizes. In 2018, there were more than $15,000 in cash payouts, with the grand champion receiving $2,000, the reserve champion $1,000, and winners of specific meat categories going from $100 to $700.

Members of the Kansas City Barbeque Society serve as judges.

The young will be competing, too, in Kids Q and AG Mechanics Project Show events. While the former will test cookers from age groups 5 to 10 and 11 to 15, the latter has members of Humble ISD’s Future Farmers of America chapters and welding programs building a pit.

Robert Comstock, one of the Humble Rodeo & Cook-Off’s executive committee’s vice presidents, said Kids Q’s contestants will be judged on presentation, taste, and tenderness and similarly to the adult cookers.

“Albeit a little gentler,” he added.

Rumble in Humble, where cookers will concoct a dish with provided ingredients, also made a return.

Foster worked with the fire marshal’s office this year to increase occupancy — to 9,500 people — and “book bigger acts.” To him, the show is what every subsequent event must improve upon.

“People love to see mutton busters,” he said. “But if you go to another rodeo and see 15 mutton busters, in about the first 10 people will be playing on their phones. It’s about keeping people engaged.”

Among the performers this year are Desert Okies, Parker McCollum, Ryan Watson and the three winners of the Humble Voice competition on Jan. 12.

Helene Webster, a vice president on the Humble Rodeo & Cook-Off executive committee, said all the event’s proceeds will go toward the Humble ISD Education Foundation.

“We don’t take anything out of this,” she said. “We believe in this area, we love our children, and we want them to be on the receiving end of all that comes through the rodeo.”

A complete schedule of events is viewable at www.humblerodeo.com. Attendees can park their cars at no cost at Humble High School and take a shuttle — school bus — to the Humble Civic Center Arena.

Tickets are purchasable on the Humble Rodeo & BBQ Cook-Off event’s official site. It is $15 for attendees ages 21 and above, $10 for under, and free for kids ages 5 and younger.

nguyen.le@chron.com