Monday, January 16, 2012

Totally Texas -- Keeping the cow in Cowtown

Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Will Rogers Memorial Center

3401 West Lancaster Avenue


Leave it to Fort Worth to make rodeo a cultural event -- right up there with its great art museums. Of course, this isn’t just any rodeo. During the stock show that began this weekend and runs through February 4, visitors can attend the Cowboys of Color Rodeo, a “Best of the West” Ranch Rodeo, a fiesta-themed “Best of Mexico Celebracion,” PRCA professional rodeo, and “Bulls’ Night Out.” And those aren’t mechanical bulls.

And where there are cattle, there must be horses as well. If you like your horses on the wild side, try Mustang Magic, this Thursday through Saturday (January 19-21). The event sponsored by the Mustang Heritage Foundation features mustang mares who were running wild only months ago. Take a look at the contestants at they’ll be available for adoption Saturday night.

The trail drive era that earned Fort Worth the nickname “Cowtown” only lasted from 1866 until the late nineteenth century before passing into legend. But no place gives the legend as much boost as Fort Worth, whose old stockyards earned a listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The Fort Worth stock show began in 1896 when a show (actually the second one of that year) was held to coincide with a meeting of the National Livestock Exchange. From that beginning, things only got bigger.

In 1904, the great African-American cowboy, Texas-born Bill Pickett, gave an early demonstration of bulldogging -- the sport he invented. The following year, the first rodeo -- a demonstration billed as a “Wild West Performance” -- took place at the stock show. Unfortunately for Pickett, bulldogging didn’t join the official list of rodeo events until 1938, years after his death.

This year, any visitors who want more than rodeo can see a jaw-dropping array of livestock judging (llama performance classes, anyone?); hear story-telling by the Texas Cowboy Poets Association; and watch a mounted shooting competition.

They can listen to music, eat, shop (and not just for cows), and attend Cowboy Church on Sundays. Anybody not sure what to do first can check out or the stock show’s Facebook page. And of course, it has its own app. Like Fort Worth, the stock show is legendary -- with a modern twist.

Also this week -- for those who like their horses of the iron variety, the North Texas Council of Railroad Clubs holds its 27th annual model train show in Plano Centre, 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Saturday and Sunday (January 21-22). Admission is $8, free for children age 12 and under with a paid adult admission. See for details.

No comments:

Post a Comment