2010-2011 Trailblazer Award Recipient: Leroy Shafer

2010-2011: The recipient for 2010-2011 was Leroy Shafer, vice president and COO of the Houston Livestock Show and RodeoTM. For over forty years, the “Man behind the Brand” has remained a real champion of the wider Houston community. He has helped lead the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to records exceeding 2.26 million visitors and providing millions annually in scholarships.

Thanks in large part to Leroy Shafer’s efforts, the HLSR shines as a successful blend of philanthropy, entertainment, and inclusion. Shafer has been instrumental in developing the annual Show into an internationally known entertainment and sports extravaganza by crossing all musical genres and pioneering the use of lights, sound and video projection and attracting some of the world’s biggest music performing stars.

"I continue to be excited and humbled to work with this great organization that supports youth, education and the agricultural community while providing affordable family entertainment to the general public," is the closing quote of his biography.

He was actively involved in the design of the new Reliant Stadium and Reliant Center and has represented the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in negotiations with the NFL and Harris County. Under his direction, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has developed a complete in-house advertising and marketing agency, a radio and television production facility, and a sponsorship program considered among the best in the sports and entertainment industry.

Shafer earned a bachelor's degree in agricultural journalism from Texas A&M University and a master's degree in technical journalism from Iowa State University. He received the Texas A&M University Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications Alumni Excellence Award in 2006. He is a member of the 12th Man Foundation and the Former Journalism Student Association Hall of Fame.

Shafer served in the U.S. Army (active and reserve) from 1969 to 1989. He completed one tour of duty as a helicopter pilot with the 12th Combat Aviation Group, Republic of Vietnam (1970-71) and he commanded the 75th Maneuver Area Command Aviation Detachment in Houston (1981-1986).