When I was 11 years old, my Uncle Andy and Pop-pop took me, my sister, and my brother on a road trip across the country to go see our Uncle Glenn. He lives in Arizona, and the rest of us were stationed on the East Coast.

It was a memorable trip − seeing Troll Town in Wisconsin, hanging in a hot tub at the foot of the Colorado Rockies, driving through Roswell, New Mexico, and hiking part way down the Grand Canyon −  but probably the most memorable part of it was seeing my first rodeo the night we drove into town.

It's not that I haven't seen cows before; you're talking to a former Dairy Princess of Chester County, PA who grew up milking, feeding, and herding Holsteins.

But an actual rodeo was foreign to me. It felt like I was truly in the “wild west”, this untamed territory that was far removed from the East Coast.

Little did I know that when I was an adult, I would fall for a Texan man while studying abroad in Japan, and we'd move just a few miles away from where the biggest rodeo in the United States is held each year (NRG Stadium).

Each year I get excited about this event and participate in whatever I can, such as the past two years being part of Reliant Rodeo's Roundup charity event, meet cowboys (real, live ones!), brush shoulders with cattle, eat frito chili pie, and see Reba McEntire in concert.

And this year is even more special than the last few.

This Year, My Family's Coming to Town

My father and littlest brother have decided to drive down to meet our new little baby, and it happens to be just in time for the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo! So you can bet we'll be taking them to their first rodeo.

This includes: fried Twinkies (my husband says we're doing it this time), Mutton Bustin', and watching Cowboys compete.

While at the rodeo, you can bet I'm going to enter Reliant's Rodeo Boots Sweepstakes (and you should too) since I love to save money on our energy costs (check out my year-to-year comparison of our energy costs here). Basically, it's a Sweepstakes with a grand prize of free electricity and home security for three winners! There are three 1-week phases, starting March 1, 7 and 14, and to enter, just take a picture at one of Reliant Energy’s two Rodeo Houston footprints at NRG Park – located inside the McNee gate, the main entrance onto the Rodeo grounds at the north side of NRG Stadium, or at NRG Center Hall C entrance outside the livestock exhibit – and post it to your Instagram or Twitter account (FYI: visit reliant.com/rodeo for more information).

Gearing Up for the Big Show

For Paul's engagement gift six years ago, I purchased him his very first pair of Cowboy boots. The soles have since decayed to the point where they're slippery and unwearable. But we would never purchase a new pair. Instead, I saved money by having them resoled for his Valentine's Day gift. Boy was he surprised!

He'll be showing them off at the rodeo. As for me, I've never actually owned a pair of Cowboy boots…that is, until we signed up for Reliant's new Rodeo plan where you get a voucher for a free pair of Justin® Cowboy boots! I'm waiting for my own voucher in the mail and can't wait to add a pair of these boots to my wardrobe (though admittedly…they won't be used too often).

So how about you: have you ever been to a rodeo before? Are you going to attend the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo this year?

* Disclosure: I received compensation for this post from NRG and Reliant.