Professional cowboy discusses financial fallout of Houston rodeo canceled again

RODEOHOUSTON was first postponed, then canceled for the second year in a row.

Professional cowboys, who spend all year training for the rodeo competitions, are now speaking out about the fallout. 

In a matter of seconds, a professional cowboy rides out on his horse, lassos a running calf, then runs over to tie its legs together with a rope. The faster this is done, the higher ranked a cowboy in the "tie-down roping" competition. 

RodeoHouston 2021 canceled due to health, safety concerns

RodeoHouston has been canceled for 2021. The Junior Livestock and Horse Show competitions will go on in March.

For 30-year-old Marcos Santo, he currently stands at 19 in the world.  

"I think I was born a cowboy. I started roping calves when I was 14 years old. It's a lot of work and sweat. To be a cowboy you gotta be positive because it's not every day you go against animal and you know, against the clock," said Santo. 

Originally from Brazil, the former world champion competes in rodeos full-time, year-round. When he’s not traveling, he’s training and riding horses up to 10 hours a day.


The physical toll the sport takes on his body has resulted in five knee surgeries and frequent visits to his chiropractor, Dr. Jeff Pruski of 3R Regenerative Repair and Relief.

"We're using mesenchymal stem cells or mesenchymal tissue which can form once it's administered to the body. Then it can turn into whatever basically needs, which sounds very strange bu that's exactly what happens. It can turn into muscle, tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, nerve or even skin," Pruski said. 

Aside from the countless hours spent preparing for the rodeo, being a professional cowboy pays the bills for Marcos and his wife.

Santo said he does not receive a salary and relies on winning rodeo competitions to provide for his family.

Local vendors react to RodeoHouston 2021 cancelation

Family traditions will have to skip a year now that Houston Rodeo officials have canceled their 20021 season.

The Houston Rodeo is the largest in the world and getting canceled for the second year in a row because of COVID-19 is a blow to their livelihood. 

"If you win the big deal it's $50,000. But you could win $2,500 every go-around you compete in until you get to the finals," Santo said. 

Santo said his focus will now shift to preparing and training for next year’s rodeo.