Fort Worth Stock Show

April 28, 2014

Stock Show caught a dose of ‘Super Bowl weather’ this year

A few days of nasty weather likely contributed to a small drop in attendance in 2014, but the Stock Show still drew more than a million visitors for the third straight year.

Brad Barnes is suggesting that the phrase “Stock Show weather” should be retired.

Instead, the president and general manager of the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show said the cold and sometimes icy weather that invades North Texas each year should include a football reference.

“It’s not Stock Show weather any longer; it’s Super Bowl weather,” Barnes said, referring to the ice storm that dropped in on the Metroplex in February 2011, when Super Bowl XLV was being played in Arlington.

Barnes said it’s nasty weather — Super Bowl weather — that kept the Fort Worth Stock Show from setting an attendance record this year, when 1,137,100 attended the annual 23-day event, according to an annual report released Monday. It’s the third straight year that more than a million people attended the Stock Show, but it fell short of the record of 1,166,100, set in 2012.

“We’ve done exceptionally well despite that, especially compared with 2011 when we had Super Bowl weather,” Barnes said.

That year, the Stock Show drew 930,300 visitors.

This year’s figures were released at the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show’s annual membership meeting, where Barnes credited the hard work by hundreds of volunteers, committee members and staff for creating an event that attracts such a following.

“Anytime we can get that many folks, we’re happy,” he said.

Though the first few days of the show were fine, a rash of extremely cold weather — and one day of snow — kept crowds down during the last week.

But introducing such new features as the Fort Worth Super Shootout — elite rodeo champions competing tournament-style — the Junior Agricultural Mechanics scholarship and Cook Children’s Medical Center Day helped keep the attendance above 1 million, Barnes said.

“All the featured showcases were successful in their own area,” Barnes said. “We’re very pleased with all of them.”

One record was that set involved the number of entries, 29,000 from 43 states.

“An entry can be anything from a rabbit to a rebuilt tractor,” Barnes said. “Exhibitors came from 4-H and FFA groups in 236 Texas counties. There are only 254 counties in Texas, so that means almost every county in the state had junior exhibitors here.”

That says plenty about the show’s longtime home, the Will Rogers Memorial Center, west of downtown.

“It says a great deal for our show,” Barnes said. “But mostly it’s that people like coming to Fort Worth and everything that Fort Worth has to offer.”

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