Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo: An Inside Look at the Oldest Stock Show in Texas

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Photos by Shannon Salas

In Texas, when one gets the opportunity to go to a good rodeo, no matter where that rodeo is, they take that chance with incredible excitement. Fortunately, Texas is plentiful in rodeo action and was ecstatic to jump on the chance to get in behind the scenes of one of the top rodeos in the Lone Star State- the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. And we had a lot of fun!

How It All Began

Upon our arrival at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, we were greeted by Publicity Manager Matt Brockman, who gave us a pretty intense history lesson of how the stock show began and how it has grown since. It is the oldest in Texas. Believe it or not, the first stock show took place in March of 1896 in North Fort Worth and the second one was held in October of that year.

A couple of years later, local commercial merchants began exhibiting their best livestock and by 1901, the event was dubbed the Texas Fat Stock Show and in 1903, the Armour and Swift packing companies moved into North Fort Worth, their grand opening coinciding with the dates of the stock show itself. The event grew quickly and by 1905, roundups and ranch work demonstrations began and were coined the Wild West Performance. Those that participated in the roundups were in the running for cash prizes.

In 1918, the first indoor rodeo was added to the show and people loved it. Fast forward quite a bit. In 1944, the stock show was moved from the Northside Collesium to what is now the Will Rogers Memorial Center to accommodate for the large event. The rest is, well, history.

The Stock Show

Each year, exhibitors bring their best of the best to the Fort Worth Stock Show. In fact, students from 238 of Texas’ 254 counties arrive to participate in the junior livestock show. These critters are all well cared for, carefully managed, and are the pride and joy of those showing them off.

Think the stock show is all about cows and horses? Think again. Exhibitors show everything from Dorper lambs to those crazy-looking frizzle-headed chickens. And they are all something to gawk at. At the end of the show, sales are held and the best of show go for a pretty penny. This year 15-year-old Mikala Grady sold her grand champion steer for $240,000 to the Women Steering Business!

The Rodeo

You’ve spent the day watching the livestock shows, shopping various vendors, and possibly bidding on a grand champion winner, but now is the moment you will truly take delight in. The rodeo. Don’t get us wrong. The livestock show in and of itself is an impressive ordeal. But nothing can compare to watching these cowboys and cowgirls show off their skills. From calf-tying to barrel racing to bucking broncos, the rodeo engages the audience in a way that no other show does and offers the chance for a little extra spending cash for the talented rodeo competitors.

Rodeo stars from all over the country enter to compete in Fort Worth’s PCRA Rodeo. From East to West and North to South, there is some incredible talent out there. This year, three of Texas’ best were named rodeo champions at Fort Worth’s PCRA Rodeo:

  • Tuf Cooper from Weatherford, Texas competed in the Tie-Down Roping competition and earned himself $17,187 with a total time of 27.2 seconds.
  • Fallon Taylor from Collinsville, Texas completed in the Barrel Racing competition and earned herself $16,123 with a time of 49.61 seconds.
  • Dave Mason from Burnet, Texas blew away the competition in Bull Riding with 235.5 points and earnings totaling $11,693.

What’s Chevy Got to do With it?

Chevy is a major sponsor of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and has been for five years. The company remains very involved in their local communities. Don’t believe it? Take a look at this event Chevy held for the kiddos of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dallas late last year. So, it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise that they would back such a large community-oriented event that brings joy to North Texas year after year.

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