Stock Show & Rodeo, Fort Worth
Most of the locals had already been to a rodeo so only a small part of the group headed over to see the rodeo that is held every Friday and Saturday night at 8pm right off Exchange Avenue. This was my first rodeo, either in person or otherwise, so I didn't really know what to expect. If you are an avid animal lover you might not find much of this enjoyable, after doing a little more reading on it, I'm even less clear if there is animal abuse going on or not, the person's position tends to be skewed if they are involved with the rodeo or an animal rights activist. While I thought it was an interesting local experience, especially seeing all the cowboys and cowgirls strutting around, I will tell you that some of it made me uncomfortable, I'm clearly not a big strong Texan ;-)
Here's what this rodeo consisted of:
bucking broncos there is a flank strap around the horse that causes it to buck, the rider needs to make it to 8 seconds for his ride to count. Once the rider is thrown or has hopped off, the strap is removed and the horse stops bucking. I was told the flank strap was squeezing the horse's testicles, other sources claim that's not so but certainly the horse must feel some discomfort to buck like that
calf roping where the calf is roped around the neck, thrown to the ground and has it's feet tied up, some of them did this in just a few seconds, it was impressive to see the speed of some of the cowboys
team roping where one person lassos the steer's horns and the other it's hind legs causing the steer to lose it's balance
breakaway roping a variation on calf roping where the calf is roped but not thrown to the ground
bull riding same concept as the bucking broncos but much more dangerous due to the bull's horns and the chance they might attack or step on the rider, there are several other people in the ring including a rodeo clown that divert the bull's attention
barrel racing this one is for the cowgirls, they race the horse around three barrels with time added on for knocking the barrels over, that was fun to watch, especially the very young cowgirl at the end
calf and mutton scramble another crowd favorite as the youngsters take to the ring to try and get a ribbon off a calf and a sheep
We haven't done it, but the historic Coliseum holds regular events. Some are recurring events like the Pawnee Bill's Wild West show on Saturdays and Sundays and the Rodeo events on Friday and Saturday. But there are also stock sales and special events. The Coliseum is holding their centennial this year on Saturday, October 11, 2007- a little early I think as the Coliseum wasn't completed until 1908. They call it the centennial of the dedication ceremony. But I guess they intend to extend the celebrations for a year.
When the Coliseum was completed, it was said that, "Texas will have at Fort Worth the largest, most elegant, and perfectly appointed livestock exhibition building in the South and without superior in the United States"
The Cowtown Coliseum has been the site of a number of firsts.
1908 - First Exhibition Round-up of Cattle ever held under a roof in the United States.
1908 - First Night Horse Show in the United States
1918 - World's First Indoor Rodeo
1923 - World's First Live Radio Broadcast of a Rodeo
1934 - Bull Riding Introduced to the world of Rodeo
Everyone from Presidents to the Russian Ballet have appeared in here. Appearances have included:
1909 - Chief Quanah Parker appeared with 36 Comanche braves
1911 - Theodore Roosevelt addressed 5,000 people
1916 - Russian Ballet Performed
1918 - Jess Willard fought an exhibition match
1918-19 - Billy Sunday held six week revivals
1919 - Chicago Grand Opera performed
1920 - Enrico Caruso performed before a crowd of 8,000
In 1986 the Cowtown Coliseum was totally refurbished and brought up to modern day standards. This includes the heating and air conditioning systems, in addition to the production lighting and sound.
Also known as the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show - it has been around since 1896. It runs for 3 weeks and is all about livestock...horses, cows, goats, etc.... You'll see rodeos, auctions, and everything else involved with livestock. It's also a big party...The Stockyards get pretty packed with revelers. Takes place Jan 11 - Feb 2 in 2003.