Warm weather, long tradition draw thousands to Stock Show Parade

Posted Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH -- Clad in a tan cowboy hat, Billy Cate watched the long line of buggies, stagecoaches and surreys march through downtown Fort Worth on Saturday for the All Western Parade.

Cate spent years riding in the parade, but rarely was the weather this nice.

"It was usually sleeting or snowing. We would practically freeze to death sitting on our horses, then go slipping and sliding down the streets," said Cate, who lives in Cleburne. "It was nothing like this."

Drawn by warm weather and tradition, thousands lined the streets of downtown on Saturday to cheer on the unofficial kickoff to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Parade.

The parade featured nearly 200 entries, including vintage trolleys, old chuckwagons, horse-drawn carriages, marching bands and area riding clubs. With no motorized vehicles, organizers bill the event as the country's largest all-Western parade.

Cate, who began riding in the parade in the early 1970s, said not much has changed in four decades except for crowds growing larger and new reserved bleacher-style seats available for purchase this year.

"It's old fashioned. That's how we like it," he said. "This is a good parade for a place that calls itself Cowtown."

Steve Myers, who staked out a spot along Commerce Street, first rode a horse in the parade in 1983. Now a spectator, he attends the event nearly every year. The parade captures the imagination of a younger generation not regularly exposed to this way of life, Myers said.

"This keeps the spirit of the Texas cowboy alive," said Myers, of Fort Worth. "It gives young people a chance to experience a piece of the Old West."

That is why James Johnson, of Fort Worth, brought his 9-year-old son, Clay, to the parade and Stock Show. Wearing matching black cowboy hats and boots, the two watch the parade together every year.

"This is our state's and country's history, and that's important," Johnson said. "Kids can't imagine a time before cars and computers."

Sarah Bahari, 817-390-7056

Twitter: @sarahbfw

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