Stock Show draws interest from around the world

Posted Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

Topics: Texas, North Texas

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FORT WORTH -- Manuel Fernandez will return to Mexico with more than the usual T-shirts, belt buckles and cowboy shirts sold as mementos to guests at the Fort Worth Stock Show.

The rancher from Veracruz and his group of 10 visitors also bought 12 horses and seven saddles during their trip to North Texas. When they weren't conducting business, they were making good memories at the rodeo.

Fernandez is among the 353 people from foreign countries who have visited the Stock Show's International Suite this year.

"It's a good show," Fernandez said, taking a break at the suite inside the John Justin Arena. "And there are good horses here."

The International Suite gives guests from around the world a place to gather, plan their visit, ask questions, sip a cup of coffee or even conduct business with local livestock producers. Since 1993, it has welcomed more than 23,000 visitors from 142 countries, officials said.

Different flags line the walls inside the suite. Small pins mark visitors' native countries on a large world map displayed against a wall. Countries with pins include Mexico, England, Japan, Denmark, China, Belgium, France, Austria, Germany and Malta.

Agricultural organizations stock display tables with information to market their goods.

Many groups of guests include people who speak English, so translation is usually not a big problem.

But if the Stock Show's international committee finds itself hosting visitors who cannot communicate with locals, the committee contacts international departments at North Texas universities for help finding a translator, said Juan Hernandez, a member of the international committee.

Guests arrive at the show for all different reasons, said Delbert Bailey, a committee member.

"Some of them are just having a holiday," he said. "Some of them are sightseeing. Some of them are serious businessmen looking for horses or sheep."

Fernandez and his family and friends arrived in Fort Worth on Thursday and planned to return home Tuesday night. The horses purchased by his group should arrive in Veracruz 20 to 30 days later. First, they must undergo some health tests required by the Mexican government before they enter the country, Hernandez said.

"They've already made arrangements for transportation [for the horses] from here to the border," Hernandez said. "Once they reach the border, they'll have to have a customs broker come and inspect the horses and the papers. Then someone will have to come pick up the horses."

Alex Branch, 817-390-7689

Twitter: @albranch1

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