11 things to see and do at the 2011 Stock Show

FORT WORTH -- Now that the holidays are over, North Texans can put on their game faces and look forward to the next big event.

The one before Super Bowl XLV.

The CXV Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo begins today at Will Rogers Memorial Center.

Usually, this legendary event runs 24 days straight and ends on Super Bowl Sunday. But this year, in deference to the big game, Stock Show officials are ending a day early. They want everyone to feel free to kick off their boots and also enjoy the Super Bowl XLV, which is being held for the first time at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

So with only 23 days to fit in all the shows, entertainment and rodeos, prioritizing is key. We have taken the liberty of compiling 11 must-see events during the this year's edition of an event attended by cowboys -- and football fans -- for 115 years.

11. All Western Parade

Cowboys and cowgirls will whoop it up during Saturday's Stock Show parade in downtown Cowtown, which is expected to draw upwards of 100,000 spectators. Think horse-drawn wagons, clowns on ponies, probably even a Texas longhorn or two. Pretty much anything goes in this parade -- as long as it doesn't have an engine or use gas. Motorized vehicles aren't allowed. It starts at 11 a.m.

10. Best of the West Ranch Rodeo

Eight prestigious working ranches bring their best team of cowboys to compete in events that include bronc riding, stock sorting and wild-cow milking. It begins at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday in the Will Rogers Coliseum; the second night is already sold out.

9. Bulls' Night Out

This high-energy event pits the world's best bull riders against some of the rankest livestock around. Competition in the PRCA Extreme Bull Riding event begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the coliseum.

8 . Cowboys of Color Rodeo

This event, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, is in its second year and features African-American, Hispanic and American Indian competitors. The rodeo showcases traditional events as well as relay races, mutton bustin' and special presentations by riding clubs. It begins at 2 p.m. Monday in the coliseum.

7. Best of Mexico Celebración

A combination of rodeo events, music, dancing and trick riding, this one-night event is a fiesta for the whole family. Hosted by fourth-generation charro Jerry Diaz, the event showcases Mexican traditions and cultures. It's at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the coliseum.

6. PRCA Rodeo

More than 1,200 professional athletes compete for more than $500,000 in prize money during 30 rodeo performances in the coliseum. Events include barrel racing, bull riding, chuck-wagon races and the calf scramble.

5. Midway

When you need a break from the livestock, mosey on over to the midway for carnival rides, including a Mega Drop tower, Ferris wheel and fun-filled game booths. The midway opens at 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. on weekends. While grounds or rodeo tickets get you into the midway, ride tickets are separate.

4. Star-Telegram Stock Show Art Contest

Young artists compete for buckles, cash prizes and scholarships. Artwork that placed in the show will be displayed in the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall. Nonplacing entries will be displayed in the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History and National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.

3. Stock Show Bowl

TCU takes on Baylor in a bowl unlike any other. Varsity equestrian teams will compete in horsemanship and reining in the John Justin Arena. It's at 6 p.m. Feb. 4.

2. Junior Steer Show

One the most anticipated events at the Stock Show is the naming of the grand champion steer. Last year judge Mat Lewis selected a European crossbred steer, War Admiral, shown by Rikki Buckalew of Graham. The winning steer is named on the afternoon of Feb. 4.

1. Champions' Saturday

For young exhibitors and rodeo performers, this is the final and, for some, the most exciting day of the show. Not only will the grand champion steer and reserve grand champion be sold, but the best cowboys and cowgirls will take home big money after the final rodeo performance. The Sale of Champions of junior steers, lambs, barrows and wether goats begins at 9 a.m. Feb. 5. The rodeo finale starts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5, but tickets for this event are sold out.