That First Rodeo…

When I came to Houston, all I knew about the Rodeo was that it meant hats, boots, food and fun. I was thrilled to buy my first pair of Texas boots, hat and, of course, a rhinestone-studded belt. I was all set to party at my UH Night at the Rodeo reception when a petite woman with commanding voice called out, “You don’t mind eating later, do you? I need you right here for a photo with our Rodeo Scholars.” The voice was so authoritative, yet so full of affection, that I knew I had no choice but to follow her. Soon, I was on my 25th photo and still hadn’t even taken my first bite. I saw this woman commanding everyone with the same ease as she did me and I saw everyone following her with the same helplessness as I did.

Her instructions were almost mother-like. “You, with the red hat in the back, come forward.” “You, Jennifer, better be smiling at the camera.” “You sir, I cannot see you, which means that the camera cannot see you either.” No one protested against her commands and no one minded her authority. With her blind passion, she personified the real spirit of the Rodeo. She was our own Nancy Clarke.

In that one evening, I learned from Nancy that Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is not just about hats, boots, food and fun, but it is also about students, their future and their dreams. Thanks in great part to Nancy’s stewardship, the Rodeo has donated over $13 million to help nearly 1,300 University of Houston students graduate.. Each one of these graduates has stories that are enough to bring tears to anyone’s eyes…full of inspiration and hope. I know that programs like Rodeo Scholars become successful only if there is someone special to nurture them. For the University of Houston, Nancy is that very special person. She is our Rodeo Queen.

I wanted to find a photo of Nancy in my 500-plus photo file, called “Rodeo,” but failed to find a single one. That tells you something about Nancy…a person who is not in it for herself, but for the cause. Nancy and all those who are stewarding relationships for a cause , thank you. You help make this a better place!

Enjoy these photos from the Rodeo.

mail[2] (2)Rodeo Scholars 1HLSR 1 24 13 Corral Club Brenda Melgar 012 (2)Cougar Cookers 2 21 13 100Rodeo Cheerleaders


9 thoughts on “That First Rodeo…

  1. Dr. Khator: Wonderful blog.. Nancy Clark has been so helpful to the Delphians over many years, we really appreciate her support. She is always willing to go above and beyond. Thanks Ann Herbage

  2. BRAVA, Ms. Nancy!!! I am so very pleased that Dr. Khator has taken a moment to comment on your one-of-a-kind WONDERFULNESS, if I may be so bold. I have had the true privilege of a front row seat at an event which would not have been nearly as special without your confident hand behind the scenes. Thank you, thank you for your dedication to excellence and your undying promise to make this university the absolute best!! You are one in a million!

  3. Dr. Khator – Thank you for recognizing one of the greatest assets UH has – Nancy V. Clark. During my time as Rodeo Scholarship Administrator, Nancy never failed to respond positively to any request I made, especially those that showcased UH (my alma mater) in a positive light and on a new stage…the Rodeo. Through her hard work and dedication, a stronger bond was forged between these two great representatives of our beloved city, UH and the Rodeo. While Nancy always maintained (and rightly so) that the greatest ambassadors for UH were the students who came to our events, spoke to our volunteers and later joined the Show to volunteer themselves, I always knew that Nancy was our secret weapon. Kudos to you for putting the spotlight on this dedicated dynamo who I am proud to call my friend.

  4. Dr. Khator – having known Nancy since my first days at UH 42 years ago, I can attest to the fact that she is the real deal: she brings the same compassionate zest to everything she does. Thank you for sharing this — all of her friends have known this “secret” about her for so very long … it gratifies us to see her get recognition for just being “Nancy.”

  5. I’ve known Nancy since the 1970’s, and Nancy….DOES have all those qualities: Authority, but with Mom there in the background. You –do– put the cause above self. You ARE the Rodeo Queen, and are royalty in my estimation….for all you do at UH. Your friendship extends in the same way. You always make people feel welcome and comfortable. Congrats and Go Coogs!!

  6. Nancy Clark and her camera (they are as one) a true treasure of the University of Houston. Your recognition of Nancy is gracious, fitting and deserved.

  7. Nancy is a treasure — I am continually inspired by her dedication to our students and her passion for all things UH. One of the many remarkable things she has done is create opportunities for UH students to tell their personal story, relating how a rodeo scholarship has impacted their life. These stories have touched many hearts and created closer bonds between the university and the rodeo. If you’d like to read some of those stories — all of which have Nancy’s “Mom touch” on them:
    Thank you for shining a spotlight on one of the most amazing Cougars I know!

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