Conroe’s Go Texan parade back in the saddle Saturday

A beloved Conroe tradition is back in the saddle again.

After the parade did not take place in 2021 during the pandemic, the 57th Annual Go Texan Parade kicks off at 1 pm Saturday in downtown Conroe unofficially ushering in rodeo season in Montgomery County. Decorative floats will intermingle with hundreds on horseback to fill the streets with hoof beats, marching bands, elected officials, businesses and organizations and more.

Parade spectators can line the streets and sidewalks of downtown to be a part of one of the area’s most popular celebrations. Some of the featured highlights are the Conroe High School Band, a Spanish step horses group, The Ross Volunteer special honor guard from Texas A&M University and The Fish Drill Team from Texas A&M University a precision rifle team.

There are approximately 100 entries in the parade as of last Thursday.

The parade begins at Texas 75 and FM 2854 (Metcalf Street) continues east along Metcalf Street winding through downtown Conroe. Note there is a change to the route this year to allow for construction at the new Woodforest Bank location downtown. The parade will turn east towards Conroe City Hall and then travel by the west side of the Montgomery County Courthouse. The parade ends where it starts at Texas 75 and FM 2854. The main grand stand will be on the west side of the Montgomery County Courthouse.

“The Go Texan Parade is one of my favorite events,” said Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce President Scott Harper. “It’s a true example of how the community comes together.”

As downtown Conroe experiences a revitalization with new shops and businesses, the major event also brings visitors in downtown Conroe who may not otherwise visit the historic district.

Harper encourages parade-goers to come early for a good spot along the parade route and make sure and check out some of the downtown Conroe businesses and restaurants before and after the parade. It’s his hope in the future to offer more experiences on parade day that showcase the downtown area.

The parade is presented by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Houston Metro Go Texan Committee Conroe/Willis/The Woodlands Subcommittee and the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce. The parade will feature many dignitaries from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and this year’s Grand Marshal is Brady F. Carruth, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Chairman of the Board.

Carruth has deep ties to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. His father, Allen H. “Buddy” Carruth, was a Rodeo President and served as passionate Chairman of the Board from 1979 to 1981. His mother, Ethel Carruth, was a past Chairman and supporter of the Rodeo’s School Art Committee.

The city of Conroe will declare Saturday “Brady F. Carruth Day” in Conroe. Both the city and Montgomery County will offer proclamations naming Friday “Go Texan Day” in the community.

Carruth first became a member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in 1970. He joined the Lamb Auction Committee in 1982, working his way through the volunteer ranks to become Chairman of the committee in 1996.

In 1998, he was elected as Rodeo Vice President, serving as officer in charge of the Ladies’ Go Texan, Ladies’ Season Box, School Art, Special Children’s and Western Art committees. Carruth has been a member of the Rodeo’s Executive Committee since 2013 and began his tenure as Chairman of the Board in 2020.

“It is truly an honor to be named as the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo chairman of the board,” said Carruth. “The Rodeo has a powerful impact on Texas students, and I look forward to working with the volunteers and staff to continue the success of this great organization.”

Carruth currently serves as the President of Gulf Coast Capital Corp. and is heavily involved with several Houston-area organizations. He and his wife, Zane, live in Houston.

According to Brian Dawson, Conroe Go Texan parade chairman, the Conroe Go Texan Parade is the only parade outside of the official Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Downtown Rodeo Parade that is a part of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The Downtown Rodeo Parade is set a week after the Go Texan Parade on Feb. 26 in downtown Houston.

But the Saturday before is Conroe’s time to shine as the city welcomes many dignitaries and visitors involved in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Harper said the Chamber rolls out the red carpet on Go Texan Parade day to make rodeo visitors feel right at home.

The Conroe Go Texan Parade also marks the largest gathering of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo officials outside of rodeo activities at NRG Park during the run of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest is Feb. 24-26. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo runs Feb. 28 through March 20 and is in its 90th edition in 2022.

Then five days later, the Montgomery County Fair kicks off March 25 and runs through April 3. Many of those who are involved in the Houston rodeo are also involved in the Montgomery County Fair and vice versa.

“I don’t think to Go Texan committee gets enough credit. There’s a lot of moving parts (with the parade),” Harper said. “This is a committee of volunteers who come together to pull off an amazing event and we’re happy to partner with them in any way that we can.”

At the heart of the parade and other Go Texan activities is always the youth of the community.

Throughout the year, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Houston Metro Go Texan Committee Conroe/Willis/The Woodlands Subcommittee hosts several events that raise money for student scholarships.

“Every dollar we raise is guaranteed to come back to Willis ISD and Conroe ISD graduates,” Dawson said. Last year, a total of $280,000 in scholarship funds was awarded to Conroe ISD and Willis ISD graduates.

Next up for the subcommittee is a fish fry on June 25, a bowling tournament on Aug. 27, a chili cook off planned for November and a dance in January 2023.

Visit conroe.org, https://www.facebook.com/CLCChamber or https://www.rodeohouston.com/ for more.

shernandez@hcnonline.com

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