FEB. 9, 2024 — HOUSTON — Today, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Trailblazer Committee announced the winners of its 2024 SPURS Writing Competition. Texas-area fourth graders were invited to submit either a poem or an essay, following the theme, “My Magical Rodeo Garden.” This is the fourth year of the competition. Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo belt buckles were awarded for first, second and third place in each category; as well as Trailblazer’s Choice awards in each category, which were selected by the Rodeo’s Trailblazer Committee.

The 2024 winners are: Essay 1st – Jordan Kinsler, Kilpatrick Elementary – Katy, Texas 2nd – Blaire Andel, Newgulf Elementary – Boling, Texas
3rd – Soham Joshi, Commonwealth Elementary – Sugar Land, Texas
Poetry 1st – Kennedy Standridge, Bush Elementary – The Woodlands, Texas 2nd – Lyndsay Crisp, Marion Elementary Karrer Campus – Marion, Texas
3rd – Eyan Hernandez, Williamson Elementary – Houston, Texas

Trailblazer’s Choice Essay Jaden Leihsing, Johnson Ranch Elementary – Bulverde, Texas Poetry Grady Foret, Warren Elementary – Warren, Texas
“This important literacy initiative continues to grow remarkably in both participation and talent each year,” said Wendy Lewis Armstrong, Officer in Charge of the Rodeo’s Trailblazer Committee.

“We are honored and impressed by all of the entries and the enthusiasm of both students and educators alike.” Founded in 2021, the competition bolsters literacy and writing skills and encourages creativity in Texas students. It is one of many Trailblazer Committee initiatives built to promote reading and literacy in school children year-round. Each entry was judged by committee volunteers in two blind rounds on the following criteria: Ideas, Organization, Voice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions, and Presentation. For more information on the Writing Competition, visit the dedicated webpage on the Rodeo website. Following the committee judging, the top entries were judged by a panel of celebrity judges, including: Kristen Bird, suspense/mystery novelist and high school teacher in Houston, TX; Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, TX; Cathey Nickell, children’s book author in Bellaire, TX; April Lopez, children’s book author in Diboll, TX; April M. Salazar, children’s book author and podcaster in Houston, TX; and, Trent Wilmon, Texas born singer-songwriter and CMA award-winning producer.

About the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo promotes agriculture by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage, and provides year-round educational support within the community. Since its beginning in 1932, the Rodeo has committed more than $600 million to the youth of Texas and education. The 2024 Rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 27 – March 17. The 2024 World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest, presented by Cotton Holdings, is scheduled for Feb. 22 – 24. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and follow @RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, X (Twitter), Instagram and YouTube for all the latest news