In hopes of staying true to its mission of promoting agriculture and supporting youth while preserving the health and safety of exhibitors and guests, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo officials announced plans for the 2021 rodeo season Nov. 5 that will affect some of the annual event's staple programs.

According to the announcement, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic the 2021 Livestock Show will focus primarily on the Junior Show and select Youth Show events, foregoing its mostly adult-focused Open Show.

By foregoing the Open Show, HLSR officials said they will be able to limit the number of on-site participants and spread out Junior Show events over a longer period of time.

"Our efforts will be focused on providing a safe experience for our Junior Show exhibitors in 2021, which aligns with our mission of promoting agriculture and supporting Texas youth," HLSR President and CEO Chris Boleman said in a statement. "Our Open Show exhibitors are an integral part of our show every year, and this decision was not made lightly, but with the health and safety of all our exhibitors and guests at the forefront of our decision."

The announcement comes just eight months after HLSR officials had to cancel the remainder of the 2020 season in mid-March when the pandemic first hit the Greater Houston area.

According to the news release, planning for the 2021 Junior Show is ongoing, and specific health and safety guidelines for exhibitors are forthcoming. Livestock entries for the 2021 Junior Show will be accepted Nov. 15-Dec. 15, and Junior Show competitions include breeding beef heifers, breeding gilts, breeding sheep, dairy cattle, market barrows, market broilers, market goats, market lambs, market steers and market turkeys.

Additionally, some judging competitions and contests will still be held in the 2021 season including agricultural mechanics, archery, industrial draft and young guns shooting sports. Virtual events such as the agricultural science fair and public speaking contests will also be held.

At the Youth Show level, competitions that will take place include meat pen rabbits, breeding rabbit/cavy, and llama and alpaca shows.

"While our 2021 livestock show might look different amidst COVID-19, we are optimistic that we will be able to welcome back our open show exhibitors to the rodeo grounds in 2022, and give them the experience that they deserve and expect at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo," Boleman said.

Additional plans for the 2021 HLSR and full health and safety guidelines will be announced toward the end of 2020, the release states.