Whether you want to get your boots shined, buy some Southwestern jewelery or just browse, the shopping continues to be a big draw at the Fort Worth Stock Show.
Shopping areas in the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall and the Brown-Lupton Exhibits Hall-South — as well as outdoor commercial exhibits — turn the Stock Show into its own indoor-outdoor mall for the show’s 23-day run.
While cattle and horses are always popular at the Stock Show, one new vendor is all about “hogs.”
Harley-Davidson of Fort Worth has a booth at the Stock Show for the first time, where fans of those motorcycles can purchase accessories and gift items, including T-shirts, jackets, pins, cowboy hats, basketballs, footballs and even shot glasses, all bearing the iconic Harley-Davidson logo.
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“A lot of our riders are farmers and ranchers,” says Harriet Redwine, general merchandise manager at the Fort Worth Harley-Davidson dealership. “But you also have a million people who come through here from the surrounding communities and beyond, who are not farmers and ranchers.”
About the only thing you cannot buy at the booth in the Amon G. Carter hall is a motorcycle, even though one is on display.
“We can’t sell it out of the booth. We put it here so people can sit on it for pictures,” says Redwine. “That has been especially popular with the kids.”
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It’s not easy to find a bookstore anywhere these days, but there is one to be found at the Stock Show.
Cowboy Bookworm, a booth devoted to Western-themed books and DVDs, is one of the first-time vendors in the Amon G. Carter hall. Its shelves are filled with books about rodeo, Western history, cooking and Western heroes, in addition to children’s books, and instructional and entertainment DVDs, such as Urban Cowboy, Unforgiven, 8 Seconds and Jeremiah Johnson.
“The DVDs are as much a part of our market as books are,” says Cowboy Bookworm owner Billy Huckaby, noting that the instructional DVDs about rodeo skills are especially popular.
Huckaby, a former rodeo cowboy and newspaper publisher who also owns publishing concerns under the umbrella of Wild Horse Media Group, has a simple approach to selecting titles for his company.
“I love books. So I sell books I like to read,” says Huckaby, who has served as the announcer for the Stockyards Championship Rodeo for 20 years.
And Huckaby apparently enjoys books with unusual titles. His Stock Show booth includes the following: How the West Was Worn: Bustles and Buckskins on the Wild Frontier; Belly Full of Bedsprings: The History of Bronc Riding; I’ll Do My Own D--- Killin’; Cowgirl Up!: A History of Rodeo Women; Ridin’, Ropin’ and Recipes; and, of course, Fried Twinkies, Buckle Bunnies & Bull Riders.
Limited-edition items for sale
Some Stock Show patrons regularly play a numbers game.
“There are people who buy the same numbered scarf or tie each year,” says Pat Clinton, who works in the Stock Show’s merchandise booth in the Amon G. Carter hall.
She is referring to the limited-edition men’s and women’s accessories that the Stock Show issues each year.
The designs and colors of the ties and scarfs are changed for every show. TCU fans are likely to be pleased with this year’s models, however. The main color in the scarfs is a bright purple, with neon yellow lettering proclaiming this year’s theme, “Primetime.” The ties, which are also mostly purple, feature a mosaic of rodeo icons to create its pattern.
There are only 250 of each item made for each Stock Show.
All are numbered, leading to the collectors who try to purchase the same numbered item every year. They are available at eight locations scattered around the grounds that sell official Stock Show merchandise.