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Mr. Speaker, this weekend over 4,000 trail riders will be arriving in Houston, Texas, and parade through downtown to kick off the world's largest rodeo and livestock show. These cowboys have been on the trail for days riding from towns all around Texas. With their horses, chuck wagons and barbecue, these riders are a mixture of lawyers, executives, doctors, refinery workers, teachers and kids. There are also some real cowboys.

The Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show started in 1931 when seven men decided over lunch at the Texas State Hotel that this event was needed. The Rodeo and Livestock Show uses 20,000 volunteers and raises over $11 million for scholarships for FFA students from all over Texas. The rodeo has featured such notable entertainers as Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Elvis, George Strait and every major country singer in the world.

For 15 nights, 50,000 Houstonians ``Go Texan'' and ``Cowboy Up'' for not only the world's largest rodeo, but the world's largest barbecue cook-off. All of these events center around Texas Independence Day, March 2. But it is the trail riders that relive the past of the Old West by spending days on the trail that are the ones that start this excitement.

And that's just the way it is.

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