Lamar CISD student painting breaks rodeo record, sells for $275K

Lamar CISD student painting breaks rodeo record, sells for $275K
Lamar CISD student painting breaks rodeo record, sells for $275K

They came, they bid, they broke another record in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo School Art Auction.

Mia Huckman, 18, a senior at Lamar CISD, was named the 2023 Grand Champion. On Sunday, her painting titled “Our Last Roundup” sold for $275,000, setting a new rodeo record. She set the previous record in 2022 as Reserve Grand Champion, when her artwork sold for $265,000.

“Ever since elementary school, I’ve wanted to win here,” Huckman said in a statement. “Winning my senior year means so much.”

Reserve Grand Champion Eliza Hoffman, 17, of Clear Springs ISD has competed in the Rodeo’s School Art Program three times. Her painting, “Morning Dove,” sold for $185,000.

Four families joined together to buy each painting. Julie and Alan Kent; Shelly and Jerome Mulanax; Kristina and Paul Somerville; and Jennifer, Joseph and Robert Van Matre won Huckman’s portrayal of a mature cowboy on horseback working cattle. Randa and Ray Gilliam, Mary and Ken Hucherson, Cheryl and Gary Deitcher, and Andrea and Scott Fish were taken by Hoffman’s painting of a woman she met at a photo shoot.

Both paintings will hang on the second floor of the NRG Center next to the rodeo’s offices for one year, Kristina Somerville said. Each of the four families receives a giclée, or high-quality artwork, in the meantime.

“When the year is over, we get a call to decide who takes,” she said. “Kathy Somerville, my husband’s first wife who passed away, helped start the school art auction back in 1996. It was close to her heart.”

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About 200,000 students participated in the school art program this year. Educators submitted 4,000 pieces of art from 105 public independent school districts and 59 private schools across the state.

It is one of the few rodeo events that offers cash prizes.

Last year, the rodeo awarded more than $22 million to Texas youth through scholarships, junior show winners, educational program grants and assistantships. The school’s art program awards four-year, $20,000 college scholarships annually to 15 graduating high school students, though premium payments put cold, hard cash in qualified exhibitors’ pockets.

Huckman has competed in the school art program four times; as a Grand Champion in 2023, she is eligible for a minimum of $28,000 with a cap of $38,000.

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