The 2011 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo kicks off today, and between bands, bovine, beef and beer, there's more than enough to see and do -- but where to start? Country music favorites -- from the first night's entertainer, Clay Walker, to the closing night's star, Jason Aldean -- will take the stage, but there's much more to take in. Taste of Country has your list of the top 10 things not to miss at this year's Houston Rodeo.

  • 10

    The Carnival

    Everything is bigger in Texas, and the 2011 Houston Rodeo's 100.3 KILT carnival is no exception. Here, you can go 'round and 'round on the Western Hemisphere’s largest portable Ferris Wheel, win a giant stuffed dog, and ride a 1,700-foot sky gondola across Reliant Park to see the sights from 58 feet above the ground! We won't even mention the gargantuan funnel cakes.

    Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
  • 9

    The Calf Scramble

    Take the time to watch as high school Texas 4-H and FFA club members chase calves around the arena, attempting to rope them down and win prizes. The 2011 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo calf scramble gives a true-to-life meaning to the phrase 'running around like a chicken with its head cut off' -- only, you know, with cows that still have their heads.

    Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
  • 8

    Zac Brown Band

    While the 2011 Houston Rodeo boasts longtime country legends, you won't want to miss 'newcomers' Zac Brown Band. We only call them 'new' because they earned the New Artist of the Year CMA and Best New Artist at the Grammys in 2010 -- but ZBB already have a whole lineup of hits, like 'Free,' 'Chicken Fried,' and 'Colder Weather,' to please this roaring crowd.

    Rick Diamond, Getty Images
  • 7

    School Art Auction

    The School Art Program at the 2011 Houston Rodeo is a display of art pieces created by Pre-K through 12th graders from area schools. The young artists enter an original work based on Western culture, history or heritage, and selected pieces go on to be auctioned off. Go get yourself a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork from a young, budding artist!

    Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
  • 6

    Out of the Ordinary Fried Foods

    If you get the chance to make it out to this year's Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, you have to try one of the special fried 'delicacies' -- like fried bacon, fried Oreos, and even fried soda! If you can think it, the cowboy hat-wearing gods can fry it up. Go on, give into temptation. After all, the Weight Watchers weigh-ins may come more than once a year, but the Rodeo doesn't!

  • 5

    Go Tejano Day

    March 13 is Go Tejano Day at the 2011 Houston Rodeo, a full day's celebration of the Bayou City's rich Hispanic heritage with loads of Tejano-inspired activities. There's a fiesta and a mariachi contest, as well as plenty of Mexican folk dance, horse riding and the music of La Leyena and La Arrolladora Banda El Limon to close out the festivities.

    Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
  • 4

    The Rodeo

    Telling you to visit the rodeo at the 2011 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo seems like a no-brainer since it's in the name of the event, but plenty of people skip out on the dirt-stirring fun and head straight for the evening entertainment. Don't be one of them -- the rodeo is host to exciting competitions like bull riding and chuck wagon racing, and is fan interactive and fun for the whole gang!

    Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
  • 3

    Lady Antebellum

    Don't miss one of the biggest country bands of this century live and in-person right at the 2011 Houston Rodeo -- and before the price of tickets to see them gets bigger than the size of the Lone Star State. Lady Antebellum head to Houston to perform on Friday, March 11, and we're positive that the five-time Grammy winning trio will bring it Texas-style.

    Kevin Winter, Getty Images
  • 2

    Mutton Bustin'

    Yep, mutton bustin' ... trust us. This mini-competition has only been around since 2009, but it has quickly become a Rodeo staple. Picture this: 5 and 6-year-old kiddos holding onto the back of a mutton/sheep for dear life as it races out of the chute and around the kid-sized arena, while mom, dad, and random Rodeo patrons look on in sheer enjoyment. Well, we can hardly wait!

    Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
  • 1

    Texas BBQ

    There's only one place to get authentic Texas barbecue, and ... that's in Texas. Add competitive secret recipes and signature slabs, and you've got a mouthwatering mountain of meat at the 2011 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Get those chompers ready, because Texas beef is world famous for a reason -- it's the best!