MERCEDES, Texas (KVEO) — Food, vendors, rides and livestock competitions — everything the community has come to expect and has enjoyed over the last 82 years is returning. The Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo, a much-loved tradition, is back in the RGV.
The RGVLS was one of the first major events canceled last year at the onset of the pandemic, and it was forced to shut down mid-event.
Though traditionally it takes place in March, due to statewide restrictions on gatherings, it was rescheduled for a few months after.
General Manager Mando Correa explained, once Governor Greg Abbott announced Texas’ reopening, they decided to plan it for May, as they needed to make up for lost revenue from last year.
“Throughout this last year dealing with all kinds of stipulations that have been in place by local, state, federal governments. But once Governor Abbott opened [the state] up last month, we saw this was the opportunity to go for it,” Correa said. “We’re taking advantage of that. We realize people have their choices to make, and we’re hoping they choose to come out and have a good time with us.”
Although pre-sale tickets are not at the rate they would like, they’re hopeful for a good turnout. On an average year, there are upward of 300,000 visitors.
In March, they opened with limited capacity for livestock competitions. Due to the interest in the competitions and other smaller events they’ve hosted since then, Correa said he believes people are eager to get out and enjoy themselves.
“All indications are that people want to get out and have a good time,” he said. “I think we’ve got everything in line where it needs to be in order for us to have a good, productive and fruitful type of event.
“It’s just going to depend on people coming out. We can’t do it without the support of the folks here in the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas.”
Visitors can also expect to see Country and Tejano artists, and a Michael Jackson and Selena tribute band, which are included in admission.
While visitors are not required to wear masks, Correa said he feels confident in welcoming crowds and ensuring everyone’s safety, as the staff has done their part.
“Once the vaccines came out, we made it a goal for us to do that in case we came to this situation,” he said. “I’m proud to say everyone here in our livestock show is fully vaccinated and we’re hoping that helps things.”
Gates open at 4 p.m. Tickets are sold online and at the door. The event continues through the May 16.
For the full schedule, click here.