More than 10,000 cattle are coming to town.
They’ll be in good company — with hogs, goats, sheep, rabbits, horses and other animals at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, which began Friday and runs through early February.
We go to see the livestock, to play along the midway, for the rodeo and the fair food.
And boy, do we turn out. More than 1 million visitors are likely to enter the gates this year.
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The Stock Show in 2015 generated nearly $89 million in economic impact, per the latest reporting available.
Yes, our roads are crowded. Sure, the McDonald’s drive-through on Camp Bowie will take longer to wind your way through, whether you’re looking for morning coffee or a late-night snack.
But these are minor inconveniences for Fort Worth, which each year proudly hosts its own version of the State Fair of Texas.
There’s been talk lately about “Molly” and how Fort Worth must shed its image as Cowtown if it is to attract new business and be a vibrant place to work and live in the years ahead.
The city recently commissioned a $350,000 study that made specific recommendations about how we might reposition ourselves. The recommendations are important, and Fort Worth must look ahead if it is to ensure success in the years to come.
But the Stock Show and Rodeo is here to stay, having evolved with the times just as residents are looking to the city to do the same.
In recent years it added Best of Mexico Celebration, Cowboys of Color and Bulls Night Out — all events that draw varied audiences. It’s dug in on social media, and folks are following along on its popular Facebook page.
And soon it will be home to Dickies Arena, a public-private partnership that will be home to the rodeo in 2020. And NCAA basketball. And gymnastics. And many other events throughout the year.
The 14,000-seat arena will cost more than $500,000 million when all is said and done.
Construction is keeping roughly 800 workers busy.
But there’s one contribution that we shouldn’t overlook. And it’s the impact on children who participate.
Those thousands of kids who haul their prized livestock to Fort Worth. Who have been up early to feed them, regardless of the weather.
Junior exhibitors compete for what is for most a small payday. But for a select few, the reward is more significant — often serving as a means to seed a college savings fund. In total, the stock show registers millions in sales receipts.
That’s on top of hundreds of thousands in scholarships and educational grants awarded by the Stock Show.
Most of us know the event as entertainment, and it’s great fun as that. But your support is also reverberating across the city and the state in ways large and small.