Stock show's not just about the business

Posted Monday, Feb. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo just seemed to be lacking something this year.

But you couldn't say it was greatly missed.

That infamous "Stock Show weather," with its blustery rain, inconvenient ice and general miserableness, never showed to take the stage or throw anyone off their game.

From the heifer shows to the cutting horses to the rodeo competition, there was a constant bustle off Lancaster Avenue and University Drive.

A little drizzle and chill on Saturday afternoon couldn't even compete with storied storms of Stock Shows past.

As a result, the 23 days of activities attracted more than 1 million visitors total for the second straight time in its 117-year history. Total attendance was 1,148,400, officials said Monday.

A single-day attendance mark of 157,800 was set the third Saturday of the event, which showcases Fort Worth's Cowtown roots.

That wasn't the only record set this year. The annual Junior Sale of Champions, which helps raise scholarship money for the youngsters who display their livestock at the show, brought in more than $3.1 million.

You had Shale Exploration paying $55,000 for a barrow hog and the same amount for a wether goat. A group called Ladies on the Lamb bought the grand champion lamb for $35,000; and Hillwood Properties put up $30,000 for another lamb.

The grand champion steer, Lunchbox, brought in $205,000 from the Happy David Foundation for 12-year-old Stock Martin, who gained a following for his serendipitous name and winning ways.

But don't imagine the sale -- which serves as a grand finale -- is just a meat market, all dispassionate business.

Not when you have a group of Stock Show Syndicate members conniving to push the bidding to $17.50 a pound on a 10th-place finisher among the steers.

Just what were they up to?

The group pooled together $20,895 for the European crossbred shown by Wyatt Blaylock of Adkins, south of San Antonio.

Wyatt, 14, came into Watt Arena near the very end of the show, and that amount was something like three times the price per pound of other steers that weren't among the top finishers.

But as the Star-Telegram's Lee Williams reported Saturday, it was all method, no madness. (bit.ly/Z5Sndf)

Wyatt was a repeat performer at the Stock Show. He had taken part last year, even though his father, whom Wyatt lived with and took care of, had to stay at home because of brain cancer.

Anthony Blaylock died in April at age 36.

Kim Owens, a regional manager for Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, made the winning bid, but others pitched in to buy Wyatt's steer in honor of former syndicate Chairmen Don Weeks and Frank Neve, Gary Ray, another past chairman told Williams.

Wyatt plans to use the money to attend Texas A&M University, and the syndicate has done what it quietly does best: make the Stock Show about so much more than showing and selling animals.

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