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Texas is known for its cowboy culture. And Fort Worth, affectionally known as “Cow Town”, is the epicenter of that culture. One of the best ways to get a taste of that cowboy culture is to attend the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. This unique event is the definition of Texas-style family fun. Here is how to have an awesome time at this city’s most iconic tradition.
The legendary Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, which began in 1896, is held each year from mid-January through early February. It not only is a staple of entertainment for Fort Worth residents, but it also brings in people from all over Texas and the world. In addition to the stock show and the rodeo, the event also includes a midway and other entertainment, shopping and dining venues, and educational presentations.
If you will be in Fort Worth during the beginning of the year, take an afternoon or evening to experience this awesome tradition with your family. You will be so glad you did!
What to Expect at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo
There are two major parts of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo: the stock show and the rodeo. If you aren’t familiar with stock shows, they are similar to dog shows, but they involve cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and other farm animals.
Instead of being shown by professional breeders, the animals at stock shows are shown by middle school and high school age kids. Usually, these kids are showing their animals as an educational project through their local 4H or FFA (Future Farmers of America).
While the rodeo is definitely the headliner event of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, I recommend arriving early and checking out some of the stock show. You can walk through all of the barns where the show animals are housed and see the kids getting their animals ready for judging.
You can go into the show arena areas and watch the actual shows. There are many of them because there are several different shows for each breed of animal.
It is fascinating to watch these kids handle their animals and see the work they put into getting them ready. It is also fun for younger kids to see these animals up close. My son really enjoys seeing all of the turkeys, chickens, and rabbits.
The rodeo is by far the most exciting part of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. During the 20+ days of the event, there is at least one rodeo each day. Most weekends, there will be two daily rodeos, a matinee showing and a nightly showing.
The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is a professional rodeo with professional competitors. It is now held in the Dickies Arena. This 9400 seat arena ensures there is not a bad seat in the house.
The rodeo includes bull riding, barrel racing, chuck wagon races, calf roping, steer wrestling, team roping, and several other events. The rodeo clowns are also present to entertain the crowd while keeping the cowboys safe.
You need to buy rodeo tickets in advance. Many shows sell out each year. Your rodeo ticket includes admission into the fairgrounds. So, come early and enjoy all the fun this fantastic event has to offer.
You can buy rodeo tickets directly from the box office. Rodeo tickets range from $20-28.
Kids of all ages seem to love the rodeo. My son has a blast every time we take him.
One of my favorite parts of the rodeo is the grand entry, where Fort Worth dignitaries, rodeo participants, and other locals parade through the arena on horseback to start the rodeo. It is a great way to get you excited about the rodeo you are about to witness.
In addition to the stock show and rodeo, there is also other entertainment for you to enjoy. The most visible option is the midway, which includes carnival style rides and games. These are all available at an additional charge.
There is also a petting zoo for kids to enjoy. Usually, you will find live music on the fairgrounds as well.
Shopping and Dining
You will find a wide variety of shopping and dining options at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo as well. You can buy anything from pillow cases to horse trailers there.
If you want to dress more like a cowboy, you can find hats, boots, ropes, belts, and country-style clothing right there on the spot. Many local stores around Fort Worth have booths at the Stock Show and Rodeo which allows you to preview their merchandise all in one place.
There are also many dining options at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. You will find standard festival style foods such as cotton candy, caramel apples, and corn dogs. But you can also get barbecue, hamburgers, and other classic Texas dishes that are heartier and more filling if you prefer.
One of Fort Worth’s high-end restaurants, Reata, opens a remote location at the Stock Show and Rodeo each year. Reata’s food is absolutely delicious! I highly recommend trying it during your trip!
The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo exists not only to entertain people, but also to educate them on various aspects of farming and country life.
You will find a variety of classes and presentations throughout the event. These presentations are aimed at different ages and interests. There is a miniature horse class, an exhibit to teach kids where their food comes from, and cooking demonstrations just to name a few.
One year, we stumbled upon a unique presentation: a milking demonstration presented by Southwest Dairy Farms. My son loves milk, and he was fascinated with this presentation which taught you all about dairy farms. They also showed an actual dairy cow being milked. He learned a lot from the 3o-minute class.
The Stock Show and Rodeo is a great place to expose your kids to a lifestyle that they may have never seen before. It’s also a wonderful way to teach them about the world in a fun and interactive approach.
Tips for Visiting the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo
- Buy your rodeo tickets early. Many shows sell out.
- Consider going to a matinee showing to save a little money.
- Get there early and explore the stock show barns and arenas.
- Check out some educational demonstrations. You may learn something unexpected.
- Let your kids have fun at the midway and petting zoo.
- Fill your tummies with some delicious Texas food.
- Get in touch with your inner cowboy by buying yourself an authentic cowboy hat or boots.
The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is a legendary event that happens annually in January and February. It is a huge part of the Fort Worth culture and a great way to experience the cowboy lifestyle as a family. During your visit, enjoy kids showing their livestock and professional cowboys competing in the rodeo.
You can also pick up some country accessories and eat some fabulous food. Spend some time exploring the various buildings and barns. You never know what type of educational opportunities you will stumble into. It is a wonderful place for your children to learn about agriculture and its importance to our daily lives.
The Stock Show and Rodeo provides a lot of family fun at a very reasonable price. I hope you take time to experience the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo with your family.
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