By Nelda Briones
For years the Rio Grande Valley Livestock show has been a family tradition for many in the Valley.
School-aged kids getting to show their livestock and families getting together to see the many things the show has to offer from going out to watch the parade, seeing exhibits, riding on carnival rides, eating some delicious food, and of course, let’s not forget the awesome entertainment.
Some school districts also hold their spring break around the week of the show so they could attend the week-long event. This year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes will be made.
According to the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show’s Facebook page they had made adjustments to their schedules this year. The Jr. Livestock Show, Horse Show and other FFA, 4-H, and youth competitions will still be held in March, as they had previously announced earlier. These events will be limited in attendance. In addition and unfortunately, they will not be having their open breeding shows as they are directing their attention and energy to the Jr. Exhibitors. As for the rest of the events, the rodeo, carnival, concessions, exhibits and entertainment are now being scheduled for May 7-16, 2021, pending the COVID-19 health status. RGVLS “The modifications for 2021 have been put in place in efforts to present a safe, healthy and productive event for our Junior exhibitors,” RGVLS General Manager Manda Correa said. The safety of our yout, and families is of utmost importance to us here at RGVLS.” According to the Rio Grande Valley Lives Stock show website, in 1939, the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Agricultural Exposition, the forerunner of today’s Show, was organized as a project of the Mercedes Chamber of Commerce. The first Show was held in 1940 on the grounds of a local livestock sales yard with make shift pens and lean-to sheds. The show continued to be held on this same property until 1949 when it moved to its present location at 1000 North Texas in Mercedes. In 1947, the Show was incorporated and chartered as a non-profit educational organization with a Board of Directors representing all of the four southmost counties of Texas. Up until 1955, all livestock was shown primarily in tents. By 1979 all exhibits which were once housed in some 12 tents were in permanent building located on slightly over 100 acres. In 2005, the Coliseum and Hog Barn were demolished and a Multi-purpose Event Center was built with the help of grant monies received from the U.S. Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration. Volunteers from all walks of life-bankers, lawyers, accountants, farmers, rancher, etc., and a dedicated Board of Directors, give endless hours of their time to make the Show a success. Without them it would be impossible to produce the Show as the cost would be excessive. It is estimated millions of dollars have been paid to FFA and 4-H exhibitors during the Show’s existence. The Show has continued to grow each year and now ranks as one of the top ten in the State. People from all over Texas eagerly anticipate the event and come to enjoy the many activities including a parade, rodeos, competitive livestock events and the many, many attractions which are scheduled daily. To find our more up to date information on the show you could visit their website at www.rgvls.com or their social media pages.