Your Two-Steppin' Guide to the Rodeo Cookoff Bands

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All photos courtesy of Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo
Kevin Fowler
As one of the biggest entertainment-based enterprises on the planet, not just in Texas, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is one of the few local events that people halfway across the country and around the world travel to see. As such, its concert calendar has become increasingly crowded with pop stars like Pitbull, Robin Thicke, Bruno Mars and the Black Eyed Peas, as well as the top draws Nashville has to offer. In recent years this strategy has allowed the rodeo to regularly smash its own attendance records, but it could also leave some of our many visitors wondering, "This is Texas...where's all the country music at?"

That could well be why that on the eighth day, the rodeo gods created the World's Championship BBQ Contest, the three-day event (or "cookoff" for short) that serves as a sauce-smeared, hickory-smoked prologue to the Rodeo proper and gets underway this very evening down in Reliant Park. Here among the invitation-only tents and savory smells is also all the twang you could possibly hope for courtesy of these dozen acts, many of them from right here in God's country. Look for it at the Miller Stage In the Garden and Rockin' Bar-B-Que Saloon.

So get your boots on. Hope you're ready to drink some beer.

(Note: some of the following acts, and lots more besides, will be appearing at the Hideout tent during the course of the rodeo. See that schedule right over here.)


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Justin Van Sant
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27
All acts perform at the Miller Stage In the Garden unless noted

JUSTIN VAN SANT
Time: 7:15 p.m.
Hometown: Houston
Twitter Bio: "I sing the songs I was born to sing the best that I can"
Sponsored By: Lone Star Beer, Rebecca Creek Whiskey
Might Remind You Of: Gary Allan
Sample Songs: "Swear I'm In a Small Town," "Destination Me and You," "Without That Woman"
Sample Lyrics: "On any given road/Just a good stone's throw can prob'ly hit Town Hall" ("Swear I'm In a Small Town")


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SUSAN HICKMAN
Time: 7:30 p.m. (Rockin' Bar-B-Que Saloon)
Hometown: Humble
Twitter Bio: "Texas Country Music Recording Artist"
Might Remind You Of: Gretchen Wilson
Sample Songs: "Hell Still Hasn't Frozen Over," "Do Me a Miracle," "Whipping Post" (yes, the Allman Bros. warhorse)
Sample Lyrics: "I'm not angry anymore/I don't hate love like I swore" ("Hell Still Hasn't Frozen Over")

Hickman also plays 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, also at the Rockin' Bar-B-Que Saloon.


CODY JOHNSON
Time: 9:15 p.m.
Hometown: Huntsville
Twitter Bio: "Living in East Texas, married to my best friend, chasing my dreams...Cowboy, Hunter, Fisherman, Songwriter, Performer."
Might Remind You Of: Dierks Bentley
Sponsored By: Bud Light, Wrangler
Sample Songs: "Dance Her Home," "Ride With Me," "Texas Kind of Way"
Sample Lyrics: "Might as well lock me up in Huntsville/If your memory's here to stay" ("Texas Kind of Way")


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Mike & the Moonpies
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 28

MIKE & THE MOONPIES
Time: 3 p.m.
Hometown: Austin
Twitter Bio: "New Album The Hard Way Available Now!"
Might Remind You Of: Cross Canadian Ragweed
Sponsored By: Lone Star Beer
Sample Songs: "The Hard Way,"Puttin' It Down," "Damn Strait"
Sample Lyrics: "How could you take her, just like you were taking a rose/Damn Strait, damn Hank, damn Jones" ("Damn Strait")


SAM HUNT
Time: 5 p.m.
Hometown: Cedartown, Ga. via Birmingham, Ala. (he's a former UAB quarterback)
Twitter Bio: "Download Raised On It on iTunes"
Might Remind You Of: Jason Aldean
Sample Songs: "Raised On It"
Sample Lyrics: "Only sign we ever got stuck/Was the muddy chain in the back of the truck" ("Raised On It")


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Chase Rice
CHASE RICE
Time: 7:15 p.m.
Hometown: Daytona Beach, Fla
Twitter Bio: "New EP Ready Set Roll available now on iTunes"
Might Remind You Of: Luke Bryan
Sample Songs: "Ready Set Roll," "How She Rolls," "Best Beers of Our Lives"
Sample Lyrics: "Here's to ridin' on the high life/A little puff and a hell-yeah high-five" ("Best Beers of Our Lives")


JACK INGRAM
Time: 9:15 p.m.
Hometown: Austin (via The Woodlands)
Twitter Bio: "ACM Award winner, CMT Award winner, Songwriter, Road Warrior, Father of 3. I play country music."
Might Remind You Of: Keith Urban
Sample Songs: "Barefoot and Crazy," "Beat Up Ford," "Wherever You Are"
Sample Lyrics: "She's got her shades on, and man she's lookin' strong/Mine all mine for the weekend" ("Barefoot and Crazy")


Story continues on the next page.


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Reliant Park

1 Reliant Park, Houston, TX

Category: General

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