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Texas, Israel and Rodeo

Texas is the second largest state in the U.S., 32 times the size of the State of Israel, but “only” 3.5 times greater population. The rest of the area seems to be growing cattle!

Trade relations between Texas and Israel are very advanced and add more from $ 1.3 billion a year to the economies. Conditions during the recession in Texas were relatively stable and she suffered no significant fluctuations in the real estate market, even managing to spend a small fortune in the economy and knowledge-based industry. The results are significant: Texas alone has 40% of all new jobs created in the U.S. last year. This is due to many technology companies relocating to Texas and carefully planned industrial diversification. Texas also is home to one of the large internal migration from other U.S. states, and home to some of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. (Dallas, Houston, Austin and San – Antonio).

Texas is associated in our minds with NASA (Houston, we have a problem) or Ewing Oil from the Dallas television series, for those who still remember that. The truth is that the city of Houston is the energy capital of the world, and produces about 20% of the energy consumed in the United States. But what not many people know is that Texas is also the leading country in the U.S. for wind energy production. When the Texans decided to invest in wind energy, they left California far behind and currently produce 9000 MW of power from formidable wind farms in fields to the north. Investment in new turbines moderated until after undertaking the ambitious project to connect all the electricity in the country, which they claim will double the amount of energy produced.

To tell of everything Texas maintains a leadership position in would be too long, but it should be mentioned that the biggest medical center in the world is located in Houston. Nano science technology was born here, and has the second largest presence in the U.S.

A huge number of Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Texas (57) and Houston Texas is home to the largest rodeo event in the country!

Besides the medical, high-tech and energy sectors, do not forget Texas is synonymous with COWBOYS and cattle raising is not only part an industry, but also a central part of Texas culture and identity. In this framework, the annual Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo which takes place in March is a very important event. Texans consider it the world’s largest event of its kind. I will not deny Canadians claim the birthright, but the events in Houston are very diverse and take place in a massive indoor stadium, the biggest event in the world under one roof. This is a unique event in Southern life that can often seem humorous, unrealistic or just not sure why it takes place, but for one who considers himself a Texan, the Rodeo is a very serious matter.

The Rodeo has a management team of top executives, and a very large team working, planning and organizing the event. There are over 20 thousand volunteers! Countless individuals contend for the opportunity to be a volunteer on one of hundreds of event organizing committees. The event itself takes three weeks in March each year and the competition always opens with a big BBQ (naturally). Many companies rent space to reach their customers attending the event. This is not just about companies involved in agriculture, but banks, real estate companies, airlines etc. This is an integral part of how they create contact with customers. After the big celebration, the actual Rodeo competitions take place: riding on bulls or horses, racing around barrels, cutting horse, pleasure horse, and many others. Children under the age of 6 may compete to see who has more skill riding on the back of a sheep! Every year the event attracts about 2 million visitors (2.3 million rather last year), mainly from Texas, but a lot of farmers come from Mexico and other countries in Latin America and there is representation from Europe and Australia and of course Israel. The International audience mainly comes for cattle and other livestock sales, and to participate in professional seminars. Hosting international delegations is an example of the warmth and southern hospitality of this event. Every day thousands of people from abroad are served a free lunch in the beautifully decorated, International Hospitality and Business Center designed for them with a team of volunteers to assist with anything needed.

Despite the fact that some argue that the celebration around the rodeo is unacceptable and that some of the sports are cruel to animals and revolve around making, I want to comment, without trying to justify or criticize the organization. It is important to know that the Livestock Show & Rodeo is a non-profit organization.

Since its beginning in 1932, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo has committed approximately $283 million to scholarships, research, endowments, calf scramble participants, junior show exhibitors, School Art participants, and other educational and youth programs. Of that total, the Show has committed more than $165 million in direct educational program support, since the first scholarship was awarded in 1957.

Because college is only a dream for so many students, the Show has made an extraordinary impact on the lives of countless young men and women in its quest to benefit the youth of Texas and support them through education. Currently, more than 2,000 students are on Show scholarships, attending more than 100 different Texas colleges and universities. The value of these scholarships is approximately $30 million.

While the primary benefit of the Rodeo is the unparalleled entertainment opportunities it provides the region and the large distribution of charitable giving, the Rodeo also provides a bonus economic stimulus to the overall economy that is significant. This stimulus is almost certainly greater than any other sports or arts production in Houston and is comparable to the presence of a major economic base corporation with local employment in excess of 3,000 employees

Impacts on the economy simply because the Show exists:

• Annual aggregate gross sales are increased by $475,403,000.

• Annual gross regional product is increased by $320,221,000.

• Annual personal incomes are raised by $290,710,000.

• 7,265 full-time equivalent jobs are created.

• The local population is increased by 16,316 people.

• Residential capital is changed by $361,877,000.

• Non-residential capital is changed by $420,125,000.

• The annual fiscal dividend (tax revenues) to local government is increased by $27,344,000.

The Rodeo is Big Business!

It should be noted that last year, The Economic Office along with the Consulate General in Houston, held several events during the rodeo and even hosted four Israeli companies who participate and presented their technologies, especially water solutions for agriculture, and met with farmers and businessmen. For the event next year, we are working with the organizers to build an educational seminar for cattle ranchers, dealing with water and energy, which will be primarily educational but will help Israeli companies display their capabilities.

To learn more, you can see and hear one of the Israeli participants at the event held last year, at the following links:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62_XueMiHnU[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s21YqzNKyug[/youtube]

If you want to see the expanse of Texas first hand, experience the excitement of the Rodeo, enjoy a visit to the Space Center, or a thick juicy steak, you will certainly be greeted here with typical southern warmth, and will always find something new!

See you there!