The annual Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo kicks off Friday, and continues through Feb. 9.
If you’re new to North Texas, or perhaps aren’t terribly interested in cattle haltering or cowgirl yodeling, you should know that there are still plenty of other reasons to visit Fort Worth’s marquee, three-week event.
For starters, in a way the future of your food depends upon it.
Participants from across Texas make annual treks to Fort Worth, to show off their skills in raising the livestock that eventually will make it to your dinner table. Their education in these matters has a very real impact on the world’s nutrition, and the agricultural economy.
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Also, most of the Stock Show attendees are from out of town — many coming from hundreds of miles away — and the three-week showcase means the world to them. You can see this in the looks on their faces, as they compete in dozens of events involving cattle, poultry, pigeons, rabbits and other animals.
The haltering that takes place at the calf scramble is pretty cool, too. The yodeling, fiddling’ and other performances are a hoot.
And then there’s the daily rodeo performances at the Will Rogers Coliseum. The athletism and courage displayed by the competitors is something to behold.
So now that we have your curiosity piqued, and you have decided to attend, here are five things to know:
General admission is $10 for adults, or $5 for children five and older. Those tickets — which are sold as you enter the stock show grounds — are good for admission to just about everything except rodeo performances.
Rodeo tickets can be bought at fwssr.com, by calling 817-877-2420 or by visiting the ticket office at the Will Rogers Memorial Center — and if you have a rodeo ticket that gets you general admission for free. For general admission, children under 5 are free, but for rodeos anyone older than 2 needs a ticket.
Look for all kinds of specials. For example, anyone wearing Dickies attire can get free general admission Tuesday (Jan. 22) — and the same goes for those wearing TCU garb Jan. 31.
Public parking is $12 per vehicle. For a cheaper and probably less stressful parking experience on weekends, patrons can park for $5 per vehicle at Billy Bob’s Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza near the Stockyards and hop on the Rodeo Redline shuttle buses, which will then drop you off at the Stock Show front door.
Locals sometime call it “Stock Show weather.”
It seems like every year an arctic blast hits the Metroplex just as the festivities are getting under way. (Mainly, that’s just because what passes for winter weather in North Texas is more likey to occur in late January-early February than any other time of year.)
Anyway, the point is that although the Stock Show is largely (but not totally) an indoor event it’s important to dress in layers and take a big, comfy coat. Otherwise, as you walk between the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall and the Burnett Building, you’re gonna feel a brisk breeze. Just expect the weather to be cold and enjoy it. The horses and cattle don’t seem to mind.
Plenty of good grub is available for purchase. Reata again has three locations at the Stock Show, although the Star-Telegram’s Bud Kennedy reports that this may be the last year for at least one and maybe all three locations (Next year, the Stock Show will move to Dickies Arena, which has its own kitchen.)
Outside the Stock Show along the cattle, sheep and swine barns, there’s always the delicious smells from the Outdoor Food Court. And the indoor Round Up Inn Food Court, which features a variety of barbecue, burgers and other cuisine, is an option at the Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall.
Games and rides
Since we’ve already discussed the importance of dressing in layers, go ahead and venture outside to the Stock Show Carnival Midway. There, visitors can enjoy a selection of thrill rides, games and food spread across six acres. Magic Money wristbands are available for those who want a convenient way to pay for concessions.
(The Carnival Midway tends to open later in the day, so check the schedule before heading out.)