About the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo

Also known as San Antonio Livestock Exposition, Inc. (S.A.L.E.) has grown to one of the largest, most prestigious single events in the city of San Antonio, with approximately 1.5 million visitors entering the grounds each year. The success of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is attributed to over 6,000 volunteers who give countless hours to the organization. With community, donor and volunteer support, the organization has donated more than $210 million to the youth of Texas through scholarships, grants, endowments, junior livestock auctions, western art, calf scramble program and show premiums.

"A volunteer organization that emphasizes agriculture and education to develop the youth of Texas."

In an emerging Texas cattle town, history was made when one of the first ever Texas Agricultural Fairs was held in San Antonio. In the following years, many other fairs and expositions came to San Antonio and all encountered a similar problem, inadequate facilities to accommodate their needs. It was evident South Texas was in dire need of facilities to serve as a showplace for a livestock exposition.

This cry for greater accommodations was heard in the early 1940s by Joe Freeman, the man who began the movement which eventually gave birth to the Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum. Freeman's two prime interests were youth and the agricultural and livestock industries. His dream was to build a coliseum to be used for a number of events, but specifically, a livestock exposition for the youth of Texas. After assembling a number of volunteers, ranging from cattlemen to sports-minded citizens, the movement began to construct this multi-purpose coliseum. The years of gathering support and money paid off when construction began in January of 1948.



In September, the Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum was opened to the public.


On February 17, the first Annual San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo was held. The first exposition met with unparalleled success, entertaining more than a quarter of a million visitors, an unheard of record for an opening show.


The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Executive Committee began to discuss the encouragement of 4-H and FFA high school students, to continue their interest in the agriculture industry by majoring in agricultural related studies in college. The San Antonio Livestock Exposition, Inc. was established awarding fifteen, four-year scholarships totaling $90,000 to students entering Texas colleges in the fall of 1984.


The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Hall of Fame was founded. Joe Freeman, Harry Freeman and Mary Nan West were the first inductees.


Another milestone year in the history of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. For the first time since 1950, the rodeo and concert performance was not held in the Freeman Coliseum but in a brand new, state of the art facility, the SBC Center, located right next door. (The SBC Center is now known as the AT&T Center) The SBC Center, a first class arena with outstanding amenities, provided over 6,000 more seats than were previously available in the Freeman Coliseum. The Freeman Coliseum is now one of several climate controlled retail shopping areas featuring a wide variety of products that include fine art, clothing, jewelry, furniture, food and other unique items. 


The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo was awarded Large Indoor Rodeo of the Year by the PRCA for the first time.


The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo was recognized by the PRCA Hall of Fame.


To date, the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo educational commitment exceeds $198 million with $12 million committed in 2018 in the form of scholarships, grants, endowments, junior livestock auctions, youth western art auction, calf scramble program and show premiums.

The success of the event, positive impact on the community, world class rodeo action and entertainment and ability to provide financial support to Texas youth is the result of many hours of hard work by committed San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo volunteers.

The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has a rich tradition and history of stewardship to the community, agriculture industry and youth of Texas. With a clear vision of the future, a successful past and continual dedication from over 6,000 volunteers, The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo will continue to provide wholesome family entertainment and be a pillar of strength and support to the youth of Texas.