Houston Dash forward Kealia Ohai was named as the grand marshal of the 2020 Downtown Rodeo Parade, the Houston Livestock Show and RodeoTM announced today.
“The Houston Rodeo is iconic – I can’t think of a single event more representative of this incredible city,” said Ohai. “I am so excited and honored to be the grand marshal and a part of this amazing celebration.”
The Dash captain will be the first women’s soccer player to serve in the prestigious role at the annual event, which has kicked off the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo season since 1938. Ohai will be joined by enthusiastic Houstonians and out-of-town spectators who will line the streets and sidewalks to witness one of the city’s most popular celebrations.
“We are thrilled to have Kealia Ohai help us kick off another great year at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo,” said Joel Cowley, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo president and CEO. “Her tremendous leadership and love for the city of Houston can be seen on and off the field, and it is an honor to have her leading our 2020 Downtown Rodeo Parade.”
The 2020 Downtown Rodeo Parade will be held Saturday, Feb. 29 at 10 a.m. The parade route begins at the intersection of Bagby and Walker street, and travels from Travis to Bell, and from Bell to Louisiana, before turning on Lamar and ending at Lamar and Bagby street.
Ohai has become a visible member of the Houston sports community since joining the Dash as the club’s first-ever draft pick, the second overall in the 2014 NWSL College Draft. A team leader on and off the pitch, the Utah native has served as the team’s captain since 2016 and is the club’s all-time leading scorer with 28 goals.
The 27-year-old brings international experience as well, having represented the United States throughout her youth career and with the four-time world champion U.S. Women’s National Team. Ohai scored a goal in her debut with the team against Switzerland only 48 seconds after entering the field, setting the record for the fastest goal scored in a U.S. Women’s National Team debut.
The Houston Dash, led by head coach James Clarkson, are the city’s only female professional sports team and are expected to kick off their 2020 season in mid-April. After falling short of the league’s playoffs last season, Ohai and the Dash will go into the 2020 season focused on their goal of bringing a trophy home to Houston.