Near the rodeo in the Stockyards District is a statue of W.M. "Bill" Pickett who originated the rodeo event of bulldogging or steer wrestling. His unique style was to leap from the horse, catch the steer by the horns and sink his teeth into the steer's lip-ouch!
He died of injuries, not from a steer, but from being kicked in the head by a wild horse. He was the 1st black cowboy inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.
If you want to blend in with the locals in Fort Worth, you are best served not asking for a martini, probably not going to learn much when asking about the house red, or even getting anywhere asking for a microbrew from Belgium.
When you walk up to a bar in Fort Worth, your best bet is to say, I'll have a Shiner. Shiner is not your typical around the country beer like Bud or Miller light, it is from the Shiner Brewery in a small Texas town outside Houston. You will instantly engrain yourself as a local when you order one of these great tasting brews.
Definitely enjoy it on draft, preferably in a cold mug as shown here.
For those of you that aren't from around here, I want to introduce you to a case study in animal physics. With the introduction of a small strap cinched up toward the private region of a bull, you can actually create enough energy for that bull to leap straight up in the air, sometimes up to 3-4 feet. Add on a cowboy who is irritating this bull by sitting on its back, and the art of Bull Riding is shown. Now I am not a professional photographer, but I did get a couple good pictures of this activity, and I hope you enjoy it!
Fort Worth celebrates its cowboy and Western heritage in style with many activities for the inner cowboy. Outside the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame during the free museum weekend was this cowboy who was showing off his prowess with the lasso. He not only had the ability to keep the lasso spinning in front of him, but he could also play hopscotch jumping into and out of the spinning rope. You can find quite a few of these antics being played in front of the Cowgirl Hall of Fame and also in the Historic Stockyards district.
As we walked around Ft. Worth's Sundance Square, we came across this interesting clock outside Haltom's Jewelry store. I snapped the picture, then did a little research once we arrived back home.
Haltom's was established in 1893 on Sixth and Main streets. In the early 1900's, they added a Howard clock to the outside of the shop. This clock originally had an eight-day wind mechanism, which was done once a week on a Saturday.
After WWII, Haltoms replaced the old mechanism with a new electric one. In order to locate it at their new address (317 Main street) in 1988, Ft. Worth officials had to grant a special dispensation so that it could be moved here. I think it certainly adds a distinctive look to the street corner!
This unique clock was refurbished in 2006 and given an atomic mechanism, which uses radio waves to keep perfect time.
Once a year Ft. Worth hosts the annual Stock Show and Rodeo, which draws rodeo stars and wannabes from all over the world. This three week mega-event was hosted by the Will Rogers Coliseum--it was our first rodeo competition of this magnitude.
A fine display of horsemanship opened the event and the evening began with bucking broncos (see pic#2), then calf roping, barrel racing, bull riding, wagon races and a few comedic moments with clowns and trick animals.
I have discovered a love for rodeos, which began with my first one at the Ft. Worth Coliseum several months earlier--they're 'edge of your seat' exciting!
Outside the coliseum carnival rides were set up for the kiddies(see pic #3). Souvenir booths were selling wares inside and outside (see pic#4). There are several large parking lots nearby, charging from $7-$10.
If you have ever seen the reality show ‘Amazing Race’, you will have seen the final episode of Amazing Race 5 where the contestants last stop was in Fort Worth. They had to find their way through the stockyards cattlepen maze several times to find keys and locks. They certainly didn’t have an easy time of it.
This isn’t all just done for fun, there is a prize involved. The first place overall winner of the chuck wagon cooking competition is invited to participate in the Chuck Wagon Gathering at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City on Memorial Day Weekend. The first place winner also gets a cash prize of $1500. Second gets $750. Then there is the food category. First place gets $250, second place $200 and third $150.
1. No spices used other than those available during trail driving era, which were salt, pepper, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
2. Biscuits and pastry can be sourdough or plain.
3. The use of prepared sauces and mixes is not allowed.
4. Food will be judged in four categories: beans, bread, dessert and meat.
5. No plastic or stainless steel utensils.
6. Meat and beans for competition will be provided.
The holes that they are digging are for the camp fire and cooking. There are rules and regulations to all this as well. The crew must consist of one cook and two helpers. (Crews can consist of four members but no more than four). They all must furnish their own wood and all food must be prepared on site and cooked over a wood fire. The Fort Worth Fire Department requires rocks or stones around the fire pit which also have to be brought along with the wagons.
When the parade is over, the wagons make their way to the front lawn of the Coliseum and park in the designated flagged areas for each. I was shocked to see them all digging up these huge holes in front of these wagons. Well it seems, this is all part of the festival and it is a contest. These people have to live/cook like the cowboy did back in the 1880’s – this is serious stuff.
Your wagon must contain the following equipment:
1. Coffee grinder mounted on the side of the chuck box
2. Brake assembly
3. Spring seat
4. Bows and sheet (no iron or pipe bows)
5. Water barrel (wooden)
6. Complete tongue assembly (tongue cap, neck yoke, doubletree, singletree, wheel wrench and stay chain, no iron or pipe tongue, doubletrees or singletrees)
7. Workable harness and hames that match
8. Kerosene lanterns in working condition
There are some definite guidelines to the authentic chuck wagon participation.
1. No rubber tired vehicles. Wheels must be wooden w/iron tires.
2. Your wagon must be road worthy.
3. Your wagon will be checked in upon your arrival at the chuck wagon camp and your equipment inventoried. You will e able to use only the equipment carried in or on the wagon when it arrives at the camp.
4. Your wagon must be a trail wagon. It will be marked down if it contains construction materials that were not available in l880, i.e. plywood and drywall screws.
There are various styles of wagons all with their sponsors/owners advertised of course. These chuck wagon riders are all dressed in period costumes. These ladies clearly did not have any work in mind.
The police are followed by the ‘cattle drive’ of the Longhorns… ‘mosey’ing’ their way down Main street to the stockyards. These are the same herd that do the daily trott up Exchange street in the stockyards. Impressive animals.