Feb 5, 2024 - Culture

Here's what San Antonio's first rodeo looked like in 1949

Early Rodeo photos show animals in the barn.

The San Antonio rodeo 75 years ago. Photos: Courtesy of San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo

San Antonio's Stock Show and Rodeo will celebrate 75 years of eight-second rides, country crooning and agriculture education starting Thursday and lasting through Feb. 25.

What's happening: The rodeo shared photos of the giddy up's genesis in 1949 and 1950 with Axios.

Flashback: In its first year, the event was known as the San Antonio Livestock Exposition. The format the city has grown to love, with a rodeo, started in 1950 in the Freeman Coliseum, which had just been completed.

  • More than 250,000 people attended in 1950, according to the Express-News.
  • The rodeo and entertainment moved to the SBC Center (now called Frost Bank Center) in 2003, but the Freeman Coliseum is still used for activities like a horse discovery area.
An early black and white rodeo photo.
The first rodeo in the Freeman Coliseum. Photo: Courtesy of San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo

State of neigh: San Antonio's Stock Show and Rodeo has grown to be one of the richest professional rodeos (based on payouts) in the U.S., according to Sports Illustrated. It's a significant stop for top rodeo athletes as they vie to compete in the National Finals Rodeo.

  • It now attracts over 1 million visitors annually, generates thousands of dollars for scholarships and has an annual economic impact of nearly $300 million.

What's next: Old Dominion is scheduled to start the lineup of concerts on Thursday. Tickets start at $33.

  • It's also a 2 Dollar Day, meaning grounds admission, rides and select carnival foods are two bucks.
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