Rodeo insider: Change is needed at famed Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo

Posted Monday, Feb. 10, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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I’ve enjoyed the privilege of reporting on the renowned Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo since 1985. At that time, Lewis Feild was working on winning the world all-around title.

Last weekend, I covered my 30th consecutive Stock Show Rodeo and there was Feild’s son, Kaycee, competing in the bareback riding finals.

When I work my 40th Stock Show in 2024, I hope the following changes will have been made:

•  New arena: While Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum is the rodeo equivalent of Old Yankee Stadium, it’s also outdated. For more than a decade, Stock Show officials have envisioned a new arena, and they’ve patiently waited through a rough economy and behind other local building projects.

But from this point on, a new arena needs to be a main focus in Fort Worth. Though the city has a famous equestrian center with great stalls and exhibit halls, the Will Rogers Memorial Complex desperately needs a state-of-the-art rodeo arena. By comparison, the San Antonio Stock Show currently is conducting its annual pro rodeo in AT&T Center, the same venue that hosts the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs.

•  Stronger field: Fort Worth’s traditional Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association show features a mix of mediocre part-time and excellent full-time competitors. But some of the performances are too lackluster. The rodeo needs to be more invitational, even if it means including some part-timers who’ve won on the PRCA’s regional circuit or have earned the right to compete through a qualifying round.

•  Higher payouts: According to the PRCA, the purse at the 2014 Fort Worth rodeo was $597,986, but only $240,000 came from the local organizing committee. The rest (almost 60 percent) was from contestants’ entry fees. By comparison, the 2014 San Antonio rodeo’s purse is $1.269 million, all from the organizing committee.

This year, the Fort Worth committee brilliantly moved in the right direction when they conducted the Super Shootout Rodeo, a one-day show on Jan. 23 that offered $100,000. Each event winner received $10,000. The rodeo featured big-name competitors such as three-time world champion Kaycee Feild, who won the bareback riding title.

Hopefully, that was the start of a series of innovative changes. And hopefully, in 10 years, fans will sit in a new arena watching more accomplished competitors ride for bigger bucks every night.

The American update

Six-time world champion Cody Ohl of Hico, who won the second round of tie-down roping at the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo with a blistering time of 7.6 seconds, also is scheduled to compete in the RFD-TV’s The American, a $2-million, single-performance rodeo set for March 2 at AT&T Stadium. After placing at the Fort Worth rodeo, he’s ranked No. 1 in the PRCA’s 2014 world standings.

PBR update

On the Professional Bull Riders circuit, Valdiron de Oliveira, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, earned $40,500 after winning last weekend’s Built Ford Tough Series tour stop in Anaheim, Calif. The tour also stops at AT&T Stadium on March 1.

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