Mother-Daughter Tradition: Houston Concerts


by Bernadette Verzosa

KARSON1Ten-year-old Karson Ludwick is a poised, soft-spoken and gentle-mannered girl. A fourth-generation Houstonian, she answers many questions with a polite ‘Yes, ma’am.’ She’s loving and respectful to her parents and dotes on her younger brother Dunham.

Then there is Karson’s wild tween alter ego, a loud pop star persona that emerges at concerts. She scream sings every word to every song while frantically jumping around her seat.

Proudly present to witness both sides is Shelley Taylor Ludwick, Karson’s concert companion and mom. Together, the mother-daughter duo has seen shows by many of today’s top artists and groups including Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber,

Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers and One Direction.

KARSON3 Their pre-concert ritual involves shopping for a new outfit. “My mom and me, we get all dressed up,” Karson says. “I curl my hair, I always dress up real fancy, a sparkly dress or sparkly top.” Lucky for Karson, mom is the fashion forward Media and Event Manager at the retail store Tootsies.


“It’s just a fun time to bond with each other,” says Karson, a fourth-grader at Lovett Elementary School. “My mom will dance weird dance moves. I love her anyway. She’s jumpy and excited when we go to concerts.”

Shelley chimes in, “I try not to embarrass her but we both love it.
I’m just enjoying it because soon I will end up taking her with her friends, and at some point I won’t sit with them.”

Karson’s favorite concert so far with her mom was a show in The Woodlands by the British boy band One Direction. Her memories of the evening include her mom’s tenderness towards her. “When the music was too loud, she would cover my ears. When I couldn’t see she would lift me up on the chair. My mom was sweet to me,” she says. “One Direction songs make me cry. When I was crying, my mom hands me a tissue and she says ‘It’s all right, the song’s almost over.’ She was really nice.”Shelley says she has flashbacks from her own teenage years when she’s at concerts with her daughter, “I remember standing up and screaming and singing ‘Jesse’s Girl’ at my first Rick Springfield concert 30 years ago. With Karson at One Direction, we stood up the entire time. Young girls are always going to be dressing up for concerts, and standing and screaming. That stuff does not change.”



The mother-daughter tradition started at the Houston Rodeo in 2008. “I was five,” Karson says vividly recalling her first pop concert. “I remember Hannah Montana riding in on the back of a Ford truck. She got on the stage and her first song was ‘Best of Both Worlds’ and then in the middle of the concert she changed to Miley Cyrus. I remember her wearing a sparkly gold dress. She was spinning around on the stage and her dad came out and sang a song.”

It seems fitting that Karson’s first concert experience was at the Houston Rodeo since her parents Shelley Taylor Ludwick and Tracy Ludwick are both volunteers at the annual event. And they both grew up going to Rodeo concerts. Over the years, she has seen The Jackson 5, The Osmonds, The Judds and Kool and the Gang at the Rodeo. He has seen Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers.

Each year, more than two dozen artists in different music genres perform at the Rodeo. Organizers stay current on trends and book the acts accordingly. “The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is all about family fun entertainment,” said Leroy Shafer, the Rodeo’s Chief Operating Officer. “It all started in 1942, when the Show signed Gene Autry as the first star entertainer, who also was the rodeo producer. Nowadays, we study concert sales of popular musicians, in addition to surveying ticket buyers and Rodeo visitors in order to produce each years’ star entertainment lineup.”



At this year’s Rodeo, Family Day featured singer Demi Lovato and Austin Mahone. Karson put on her cowgirl hat and tourquoise and brown cowgirl boots for the show. But she and mom broke their concert date tradition – this time they brought along dad and little brother. Karson eagerly introduced her 5-year-old brother Dunham to the concert scene. “He was excited because he has seen Demi Lovato on TV on Camp Rock and it was fun to see her on stage,” she says. “It was fun because we got to do it as a family.”

Shelley adds, “The Rodeo is great because you feel like you’re in a safe environment. They realize there will be parents with kids so we know the singers don’t have sassy acts. I have not heard inappropriate language. The concert’s in the afternoon so the kids don’t have to stay up late.”

Karson and mom saved their girls’ night date for country singer and television reality show star Blake Shelton. This concert experience was especially memorable – they had “Meet & Greet” access and met Shelton backstage!


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