‘I’m going to be very poor’: Houston rodeo vendors devastated by the cancellation of the festival

HOUSTON – Many vendors were crushed by the cancelation of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Local and rodeo officials announced Wednesday that the festival had to close indefinitely due to an emergency health declaration due to rising coronavirus concerns.

This is the first shutdown of the Houston Rodeo in its nearly 90-year history.

Hours after the official announcement, many vendors began to pack up and leave NRG Park.

Vendors said they depend on the festival for a large lump of their yearly income. Vendors will have a surplus of products, as the rodeo was only a few days in.

“The biggest part of the show was still yet to come, as far as our business we were, we had good numbers, things were looking really strong, I haven’t seen any scare of the virus affect us at all: until today.” said vendor Sean Ryon, owner of Sean Ryon Hats.

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Some vendors will struggle to sell products post-Rodeo because they don’t have an online store or storefront.

“We don’t have insurance," said Ginger Jo Sklavos, owner of the Family Jewels of Texas. "I don’t, I mean most of these vendors don’t have insurance. They drive in here with everything they own in merchandise to come and make a living. They have to drive it all back home now. What are they going to do with it? Some of these people don’t even have stores to sell it in.”

One vendor is aware of the economic implications fo the rodeo shutdown.

“I’m going to be very poor,” said vendor and artist Helene Little.

Other vendors were simply defeated.

“I was disappointed, very disappointed,” said Angelica Smith, owner of Wild Wren.

This story was originally published by our sister station in Houston, KPRC.

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