MERCEDES — The grounds at the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show are buzzing with excitement in anticipation of the 77th annual event.
Beginning this weekend and running through Sunday, March 20, the stock show will once again bring professional rodeos to Mercedes, children’s events, cattle judging and showmanship at the event center arena as well as interesting new additions — such as greased pig scrambles to be held throughout the week — and a star-studded concert extravaganza.
Until then, Greg Bean, media coordinator for the stock show, said organizers are following the weather after early forecasts had thunderstorms potentially drenching much of the Valley this week. However, Bean said organizers are optimistic that any potential rain events will subside before the kick-off.
“The soft opening on Thursday looks iffy, but we’ll be fine for Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Bean said.
Gates open at 4 p.m. Thursday and festivities officially begin Friday with judging events for the Junior Santa Gertrudis at 7:30 a.m.; Beefmaster at noon, Charolais at 2 p.m., Chianina at 3 p.m. and commercial heifers at 5 p.m.
Country music singer Granger Smith is scheduled to hit the rodeo arena stage at 7:30 p.m. that evening along with Earl Dribbles Jr. and special guests Matt and the Herdsmen.
“Granger Smith has the number one record in the country right now,” Bean said of Smith’s “Backroad Song” currently sitting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart. “Then Saturday we’ve got Kyle Park and Justin Moore, so it’s more than we’ve had in the past.”
The Beefmaster open show begins at 8 a.m. Saturday along with area 4-H and FFA clubs presenting at the shop exhibits in the youth center. Judging events will continue that morning and throughout the day.
Serving as the official kick-off to the week’s events will be the annual livestock show parade, which is slated for 10 a.m. downtown Mercedes. The parade route will move north down Texas Avenue and into the show grounds.
Leading up to the big concert that night at the rodeo arena, which — as Bean mentioned — will feature Kyle Park and “You Look Like I Need a Drink” singer Justin Moore around 7:30 p.m., are all the events the nearly 300,000 people who attend the annual stock show have come to expect.
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