Monday, February 26, 2024

Travel with Terri to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo: The best of the best!

This is the world’s quintessential stock show and rodeo!

There’s not another western lifestyle event with more rich history than the Ft. Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, formally called the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show. And it’s kicked off each year with a monumental western parade…like none other. It’s spectacular with 2,000 horses joined by marching bands, floats and dignitaries.

The slogan, “This Thing is Legendary” is so true. The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is the most authentic western lifestyle experience anywhere – since 1896. It’s educational, fun and very exciting for 23 straight days. So don’t miss it, the last day of the event is Saturday, February 4.

Riley Webb of Denton.

One of the current rodeo celebrities is Riley Webb of Denton. Just 19 years old, Riley has a long list of winnings and accomplishments in the rodeo world. This impressive young roping cowboy just finished with the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo Tiedown Timed Event Challenge. He is the champion with a run of 6.67 seconds. He is also the Cowboy Channel Timed Event Athlete of the week and “#1 In the PRCA World Standings.”

This epic rodeo features the Best of the West Ranch Rodeo, Best of Mexico Celebracion, Cowboys of Color Rodeo, Bulls Night Out Extreme Bull Riding and Texas Champions Challenge. The FWSSR PRORODEO Tournament tops it off in the world’s most awesome venue for rodeo at the amazing new Dickies Arena.

There are also countless livestock and horse shows, kid-friendly activities and exhibits, live music, carnival midway, great shopping and delicious food. I could spend days here and never see it all.



Total entries 29,000 (animals, contestants, judging teams) • 10,252 junior show entries from 239 of Texas’ 254 counties in 2022 • 4,427 horse show entries • 1,575 art contest entries • $6.1 million raised in Junior Sale of Champions for Texas 4-H and FFA Youth • $1.2 million paid to athletes in FWSSR PRORODEO Tournament • $167,000 paid in scholarships to 46 recipients • $248,415 paid in educational grants • 1,800 volunteers •  1,370 tons of animal bedding / waste, aluminum, cardboard and plastic recycled.


Ag Development Fund; Ambassador Committee; Calf Scramble Committee; Equine Scholarship Committee; Greeting Committee Guns and Roses Committee; Hispanic Advisory Committee; Horse Show Superintendents International Committee; Livestock Show Superintendents Parade Committee; Safety Committee; Spur Committee; Tour Committee; Vine 2 Wine Committee.


Over $115 million direct expenditures • 1.2 million visitors annually • $73 million in inflation adjusted spending for improvements and expansion of Will Rogers Memorial Center • More than $100 million in contributions, educational grants, scholarships and auction proceeds benefitting Texas 4-H and FFA members since 1985.


1896 – First Stock Show takes place in Fort Worth. Purebred cattle were exhibited. First Stock Show parade held.

1904 – Bill Pickett, demonstrates “bulldogging” at the Stock Show. His, then, “act” would become the modern rodeo event, steer wrestling.

1905 – A “Roundup” of ranch work was demonstrated and billed as a “Wild West Performance.” Livestock exhibitors were awarded premiums, cash awards and prizes for the first time, underwritten by livestock breed associations.

1908 – When it opened in February, the Northside Coliseum was billed as “the most opulent and dynamic livestock pavilion in the entire Western Hemisphere.” The iconic structure featured enormous skylights, patriotic flags and bunting, and incandescent lights. Samuel Burk Burnett becomes the Show’s president. The Show opens under new name: National Feeders and Breeders Show.

1909 – For the first time the show runs concurrently with Texas Cattle Raisers Association annual meeting, March 15. The parade features almost 40 Comanche and Kiowa braves led by Chief Quanah Parker on March 19. It was the first and last time prize show bulls are featured in the parade.

1911 – Theodore Roosevelt, former president of the United States, is the Stock Show’s guest of honor.

 1918 – The “World’s Original Indoor Rodeo” was added as “strictly a contest” with events including: ladies’ bucking bronco; junior steer riding; men’s steer riding; and bucking bronco. Stock Show adopts Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show as official name.

1919 – Baby Beef Clubs, the forerunners of 4-H Clubs, sprang up around the country fostering opportunities for youth to learn about livestock production through the exhibition of cattle. The Stock Show’s evening rodeo performance opened with President Woodrow Wilson pushing a button in the White House that turned on the Coliseum’s electric lights.

1920 – Tad Lucas became one of the nation’s most famous cowgirls. Brahman bull riding was introduced to the Stock Show’s rodeo event line up.

1925 – The Stock Show becomes the place where guests make a “fashion statement.” High crowned wide brimmed felt hats, high heeled boots and split riding skirts were the fashions of the day. The first automobile exhibit opens at the Stock Show.

1943 – The Stock Show was cancelled due to World War II.

1944 – The Stock Show moves to Will Rogers Memorial Center. Livestock were stalled and exhibited in large tents until 1948. Gene Autry becomes the first entertainer to appear at a rodeo. Special late night rodeo performances are held for the benefit of “swing shift” employees that built planes for the war effort at local aircraft assembly plants.

1946 – The Stock Show celebrates its golden anniversary. W.R. “Billy Bob” Watt becomes president of the Stock Show serving until his death in 1977.

1948 – Cattle Barns 1, 2, 3, 4 and the Sheep and Swine Barns open. The building’s art deco architectural style compliments the Will Rogers Coliseum and Auditorium. Total cost – approximately $1.5 million.

1952 – Harry Tompkins wins the Bareback Bronc Riding at the World’s Original Indoor Rodeo. It’s the first of six FWSSR rodeo titles for the rough stock legend which included three more Bareback titles (’54, ’57 and ’65) and two in Bull Riding (’51 and 60).

1958 – The Stock Show’s rodeo became the first to receive complete live national television coverage; guest stars Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were hosts on NBC-TV with George “Gabby” Hayes and the Sons of the Pioneers. Amon G. Carter, Jr. is elected the Stock Show’s chairman of the board. Guy Weeks wins $4,094 in both a rough stock event (Saddle Bronc Riding) and a timed event (Tie-Down Roping); a rare feat in the sport of rodeo.

1972 – Barn 8 opens to accommodate increasing livestock entries as the Stock Show experiences steady growth.

1978 – PRCA’s one-rodeo earnings record is broken again at the Stock Show when Tom Ferguson wins $12,873 in Tie-Down Roping and Steer Wrestling.

1988 – The Will Rogers Equestrian Center is constructed to accommodate significant growth in the Stock Show’s Horse Show and various equestrian competitions throughout the year at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The impressive facilities include stalling and warm-up facilities in the Burnett and the Richardson-Bass buildings as well as the John Justin Arena for competitions and the West Arena for livestock auctions.

1989 – The popular Chuck Wagon Races are added to the event lineup of the World’s Original Indoor Rodeo.

1996 – The Stock Show celebrates its Centennial Anniversary.

1998 – The inaugural Timed Event Challenge is held. The top sixty competitors from the Horse Show’s classes for tie-down roping, barrel racing, pole bending and team roping qualify to compete for cash awards sponsored by the Cowboy Publishing Group.

2002 – The Stock Show expands its schedule to 23 days and a record 951,000 visitors attend. Ranching Heritage Weekend debuts along with the Best of the West Ranch Rodeo. The American Quarter Horse Association’s inaugural Versatility Ranch Horse Show debuts at the Stock Show.

2003 – “Bulls’ Night Out,” an extreme PRCA bull riding competition, is added to the rodeo schedule. An “Exhibicion Charra Mexicanna” is held featuring the pageantry of folklorico dancing and mariachis combined with the daring riding and roping skills of the Mexican vaquero.

2006 – International Cowboy, Evan Jayne, from Marseille, France wins the Bareback Bronc riding and repeats as champion the following year. Team Roping is added to the event lineup at the World’s Original Indoor Rodeo.

2010 – The Cowboys of Color Rodeo debuts at the Stock Show. The rodeo highlights the contributions made my African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Anglos to the rich history and heritage of ranching and the cattle industry.

2020 – The amazing Dickies Arena debuts as the Stock Show’s new home for rodeo. The art deco masterpiece is also designed and built to host a variety of other entertainment events throughout the year. The FWSSR PRORODEO Tournament debuts as the Stock Show’s exciting tournament-style rodeo with an exciting format and a $1.2 million purse. The Grand Champion Steer, a Hereford named Cupid Shuffle of Meadow, Texas sells for a record-smashing $300,000!

And this is why the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is truly LEDGENDARY!

Terri Guthrie
Terri Guthrie
Terri Guthrie is a member of Society of American Travel Writers, Texas Travel Alliance and International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Follow Terri on social media at Travel with Terri.

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