Cowboys Go Social: Rodeo Houston gives traditional media the boot

Last I checked, the Rodeo Houston fanpage had nearly 80,000 fans. This pretty much kicks the pants of other fan sites from in and around Houston. This fan base even beats the Houston Texans, who have a respectible 50k fans. The only major Houston fan pages that are above the Rodeo Houston's 80k (and growing) fan base is the Houston Astros and the Houston Rockets.

The Houston Rodeo has been in exhistance for 78 years, but their fan page is a wee FIVE MONTHS OLD! Seriously. This means that the page has grown 16,000 fans per month. That's nearly 600 fans per DAY. This is an amazing feet for any organization.

What I find personally awesome about this, is that I actually met the PR/Marketing Director Johnnie Westerhaus in a web promotional class about five years ago. She was the lone ranger with one(ish) web designer just learning how to enter metadata so people could find the rodeo line up. A few weeks later, I met Leroy Shafer at a direct mail association conference. He gave the history of the CRM system for HLSR, and how its evolved throughout the year.

I was drinking the kool-aid from that moment on. I have to admit my boots have had more dust than dirt on them, I could never pull off one of those awesome rhinestone belts, and most people can't even detect a Texan accent. I'm doing this cowboy nation zero justice, but I've got to be HLSR's biggest fan. And a fan because of their business (and mine) of marketing. These guys really know what they are doing. They have gone from posting non-searchable PDFs on their webpages, to eighty thousand fans of their facebook, twitter, youtube, mobile contest, and an incredible innovative website in just a few years.

You may have never thought of turning to the cowboys for your how-to guide of social media and marketing technology... but its definetly time to take notice. 
*My companies fan page Atos Origin North America is 200 members strong after almost a year of promotion. Maybe we should be more closely related to the Houston Rodeo? :)