Custom software automates rodeo scoring at Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Most people in the sports teleproduction business couldn’t be blamed for thinking of Super Bowl XXXVIII when they hear the words “Reliant Park.” But that’s not the event most Texans in the complex hold nearest and dearest to their hearts.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo relies on a 5,500-foot production facility and a bevy of cameras –some mounted in rather interesting ways- to provide video coverage. Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Without question, that honor goes to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, a Western extravaganza that’s a healthy portion of cattle, charity, sport and entertainment rolled into one.

Opening March 2 at Reliant Park, the 20-day event is billed as one of the largest charities in the world, benefiting education and children. Last year, more than 1.7 million people attended the event, and the task of enhancing their entertainment experience and informing them fell to Houston Livestock and Rodeo, the AV contractor for the entire Reliant Park complex.

Working from a 5,500-square-foot production and control facility, teleproduction crews put roughly $10 million dollars of video, audio, graphics and display technology to use to cover the rodeo, world-class concert events and livestock show that make up the event.

To help keep this year’s visitors informed, Houston Livestock and Rodeo’s IT department wrote custom scoring software that automates the process of displaying rodeo results and other data throughout the complex.

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo entertained 1.7 million people at Reliant Park last year. This year an automated rodeo scoring system will help keep them informed. Photo courtesy of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

According to broadcast and AV manager James Davidson, scoring data is sent to two Pinnacle Systems FXDeko and three Dekocast character generators so that it can be displayed on the facility’s switched feeds to displays located throughout Reliant Stadium, three live DIRECTV pay-per-view shows and automated closed circuit channels throughout the park complex.

“That same scoring software feeds all of the TV-related infrastructure and is interfaced to the scoreboard matrix computers in the stadium so that data is displayed on the LED scoreboards in the stadium as well,” Davidson explained. “It’s also fed to the rodeo announcers in the broadcast booth.”

In the past, entering scoring data was a mostly manual task –quite an undertaking for such a large event. By automating the process and interfacing directly with the FXDekos and Dekocasts, Houston Livestock and Rodeo has improved workflow and efficiency.

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