Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Houston Livestock Show

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Saturday, March 12, 2005  •  Speech

Thank you, Dick (Wallrath).  I truly appreciate your personal invitation to speak to this distinguished audience...
...and to participate in the auction later this morning. 

If this isn’t the premiere rodeo and livestock show in America, I don’t know what is.

I am proud to stand before you today not only as your governor...
...but also as the former owner of the grand champion steer at the 1959 Haskell County junior livestock show. 

Raising that steer was tough duty for a nine year old farm boy...
...but it taught me a valuable lesson for politics:...
...always wear sturdy boots because you never know what you may step into.

But that entire experience as a young boy is a big reason I remain a proud supporter of events like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo today.

This show attracts the biggest names from the rodeo arena to the entertainment stage. 

And for several weeks each year, it’s hard to miss the impact that it has on this city and this state...
...some $170 million in Houston alone.

But the impact it has on the lives of many young Texans extends far beyond the moment when the last trophy is awarded...
...or when the last steer is sold...
...or when the last encore is played before a sold-out audience.

The real impact is felt years later...
...when a young Texan walks through the door of opportunity that was opened right here in this building by attending an institution of higher learning with the help of a Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarship.

The motto of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is “benefiting youth, and supporting education.” 

There is no doubt that it lives up to those words.

Last year, 1,855 students were able to go to a Texas college or university because of scholarships provided by the Livestock Show.

And since the scholarship program began in 1957, this event has dedicated nearly $100 million to help young Texans achieve the dream of a college degree. 
Those scholarships are not just helping students with rural roots...
...they are giving a chance to young Texans from the heart of urban Houston who otherwise would not have the financial means to make it to college.

My friends, that is what I call making a difference...
...not only for those students who benefit...
...but for this entire state.

As part of the first generation of the Perry family to go to college, I can tell you my education at Texas A&M had a profound effect on my life and opened countless doors to opportunity.

And as governor, I want as many young Texans as possible...
...regardless of where they come from, or the sound of their last name... have access to the opportunities of tomorrow that are available only through a quality education today.

The work of the board, committee members, staff and volunteers of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is simply outstanding. 

And I commend you for it.

So as today’s auction gets underway...
...let me remind those of you who will be participating that you are not only bidding on some very fine animals...
...but also making a real investment in the future of Texas.

Let’s keep the auctioneer busy...
...because what you bid today will change lives and change Texas for the better.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God continue to bless Texas.

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