by Todd Zucker
Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™
Native Houstonian Ed McMahon has been involved with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ in some manner for most of his life. During his youth, McMahon attended the Show at the Sam Houston Coliseum with his father, where he rode in the Grand Entry on a number of occasions and shook hands with stars such as Roy Rogers and James Arness (Marshal Matt Dillon from the television series “Gunsmoke”).
In 1967, McMahon took his Show involvement to the next level by joining as a life member. That same year, at the invitation of Gordon Edge and Norwin Gerhart, he became an inaugural member of the Poultry Auction Committee, which had only 12 members at the time. McMahon served the committee in various leadership positions, including chairman and officer in charge, and he is the only original member still participating actively on the committee. He was inducted into the committee’s Poultry Hall of Fame in 1987.
McMahon’s broad Show experience also includes volunteering on a number of other committees, including Sky Box; Corporate Development, where he served as chairman and received the Top Sales Award for nine consecutive years, Western Art, where he helped the Show raise funds to acquire a number of bronze sculptures, and Swine Auction, where he was presented with that committee’s prestigious Head Hog Award in 2003. McMahon also was a member of one of the teams that competed in the inaugural World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Contest in 1974.
McMahon was elected to the Show’s board of directors in 1977 and as a vice president in 1986. He served as officer in charge of the Breeders Greeters, Poultry Auction, Rabbit, Range and Pasture Plant Identification, School Art, Sky Box, and Swine Auction committees.
“It’s a true honor to be involved with the Show and the more than 21,000 volunteers who make it one of the great charitable, educational and agricultural institutions in the United States,” McMahon said. “It’s an awesome feeling to be able to participate in the Show’s activities at this level.”
As a current member of the Building Committee and past member of the Show’s Long-Range Planning Committee, McMahon has been involved in various aspects of the Show’s expansion into new facilities, including oversight of construction and renovation projects.
Ed McMahon Interests
McMahon owns Ed McMahon Interests, which builds and develops residential and commercial properties, as well as equine centers, he jokingly refers to as “bardominiums.” McMahon attended Houston’s Lamar High School, where he was a member of the Lamar FFA and the Rodeo Club. McMahon and a friend raised steers and chickens, as well as a trick pig named Arnold, on an acre of land owned by McMahon’s grandmother. He later attended Louisiana State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering in 1967.
McMahon is involved with several charitable organizations in the Houston community and elsewhere. He was president of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America; a supporter of Citizens for Animal Protection; a director of the Western Art Museum in Kerrville, Texas; a co-founder of “Men of Distinction,” benefitting Texas Children’s Hospital; and an associate of both the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and Baylor College of Medicine.
As a member of the Executive Committee, McMahon looks forward to continuing with one of the things he does best – using his contagious enthusiasm and affection for the Show to bring in new members to help support the Show’s mission. “The whole Rodeo is based on volunteers, and without their dedication and support, it couldn’t exist,” McMahon said.