The Coliseum was built in 1908 for livestock exhibition and sits along historic Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards District. It's often the scene of excitement and mayhem!
Rodeos are held here every Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm, plus a Wild West show patterned after those from the early days of the West, which is scheduled for weekend afternoons. Although a transplant from the Northeast, I LOVE RODEOS!
The Coliseum has served as a cultural center and a background for many music videos, movies and even t.v shows, such as Walker, Texas Ranger on CBS. It has hosted appearances that range from Commanche Chief Quanah Parker in 1909 to Jimmy Carter in 1979.
The first U.S. indoor rodeo was held at this location in 1918 and would you believe, a young Elvis Presley sang here for $50 in 1956. The first radio broadcast of a rodeo was from the Coliseum.
The Coliseum offers a small, intimate sized ring for its events. We recently came to Ft. Worth to see the rodeo on a Saturday night. While in line waiting to enter the building, we watched the competitors sign up for the event, then saw them again in the show riding the broncs and roping the bulls inside. It was heart-thumpin' exciting!
Tickets for events can be purchased ahead and a seating chart is available on the website. Special holiday presentations of the Pawnee Wild West Show are scheduled throughout the year.
The CATTLEDRIVE is what originally drew us to Ft. Worth. This unique tradition still continues in the Stockyards area of the town and brings people from all over the country to see it.
Each day at 11:30 am and 4:00 p.m. a crowd begins gathering in front of the Stockyard's Visitor Center.
Excitement builds, then cowboys on horses herd a number of Longhorn Steer up the street while visitor's ooh and ah and cameras flash. The animals plod along for a couple of blocks, then disappear around the corner. It's a taste of the Old West!
At one time, these animals would be directed to either the Armour or Swift meat packing plant. Today they are part of a beloved tradition!
Right in the middle of the Stockyards District is a looming statue of a cowboy wrestling a steer. This cowboy is Bill Pickett, the first black cowboy to be inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Mr. Pickett was the top attraction at the Coliseum in his time, known for his unique performance in rodeo circuits.
Through the years, he had noticed that ranch dogs bit the lip of a steer it wanted to bring down when herding the animals. Bill applied a little good sense to the idea and made it part of his act. He roped the steer, then actually bit its lip to bring it under control. He did this time and time again, perfecting his technique and thrilling the audience with his ingenuity.
Our guided tour covered the historic Stockyards area of Ft. Worth. One of our stops was at the Ft. Worth Stock Market where livestock is auctioned off on television.
This building was erected in 1902 as an office for cattle traders. We were invited to watch the proceedings taking place in the sales area.
On a large viewing screen we witnessed a nice looking horse sell for $800. The show was broadcasted from Shoshonee, Idaho this particular day.
Ranchers video-tape cattle for sale, as well. Last year 1.7 million cows were sold on RFD.tv. This unique process sells off livestock, then delivers them to your house by cattle truck. There is a broadcast from this location every other Friday.
Within the Stock Market the Ft. Worth Historical Society has a small museum that displays artifacts from the early days. There is no admission fee.
My daughter wanted to ride, and this gentleman has his longhorn steer saddled up for tourists to ride (or sit on to have their picture taken). So she did that.
There is a whole business called Lonesome Longhorn Productions which will bring their cattle to your house for your guests to ride or will have a party at their ranch. Who knew?
The Stockyards District gives one the rare opportunity to whoop it up on a real Longhorn. Two brawny Longhorn Steer were saddled and ready across from the Visitor's Center on Exchange Avenue. These powerfully built creatures were really mellow!
A handler stood nearby to oversee things and a tip was all that was required. Get a taste of the Old West and tickle your tailbone--this was a great souvenir to take home to show the family!
NOTE: During our walking tour, the guide informed us that the Longhorn Steers are all altered bulls. That enables the cowboys who accompany the cattle drive and the handlers to better control the beasts.
Some of the attractions in the stockyard district are just downright corny and for touristic appeal. This applies to the armadillo races, but you know what? They're fun in spite of that, and you don't have to pay anything to watch them. They take place several times a day in the stockyard district.
Now one of Fort Worth's must-see attractions, the old stockyard district now is as much about attracting tourists as it is about livestock. Lots to see and do, places to eat, etc. The "cattle drives" are a riot - a handful of cattle driven down the street to give the tourists plenty of photo opps, then back into the pens.
The Cowtown Coliseum project was started in 1907 and completed in 1908, at a cost of $250,000. Apart from being a rodeo and a livestock exhibition building, the Cowtown Coliseum also served as the cultural center for Fort Worth. Nowadays, it still holds a number of rodeos and shows, but with the ammenities of a 21st century stadium.
Being from Argentina, I'd never seen a place where rodeos take place before. Even though I didn't get to see a rodeo, I really liked the place. It's just like in the movies... but I have to admit that I had imagined them bigger.
This is certainly one of Fort Worth's most popular tourist areas. Here, one can find a combination of historic buildings, shops, restaurants, clubs, cattle pens, and a train depot. This place is essentially for all ages. Children will enjoy the animals, riding a mechanical bull (the difficulty level can be adjusted), practicing with a lasso, and going into the toy and candy stores. Adults will enjoy the many restaurants as well as some shopping. This is also a historic place as it was a center for the famous cattle drives that went through this region. Today, some cattle pens remain to give the visitor a glimpse of what it was like in its heyday.
Weddings are often held in the chapel or one of the halls available for rental at the Stockyards Station. Other events often take place here too. This place should be a "must see" for those who want to explore a little bit of Fort Worth.
At 11.30am and 4.00pm daily, the stockyard cowboys drive the Longhorns through the Stockyards from the corral. The fenced pens are behind Billy Bobs at the north end of the Coliseum. There is a lot of whip cracking and hollering and its really quite a sight.
This is a bit touristy, but worth a visit...
This is a cattle exchange area. You get to sit on a bull, buy Texas souvenirs and see other tourists. However, what's remarkable is that this place does not lose its atmosphere of a cattletown.
The daily march down East Exchange Avenue of the fifteen or so Texan Longhorn cattle (with six-feet horn spans) is done in good, educational taste. The drives occur, weather permitting, at 11.30am from the corrals behind the Livestock Exchange Building with the herd arriving back around 4:30pm; one of the best views can be found directly in front of the visitor center.
It's much more than a cynical creation for cowboy-hungry tourists and even the daily march down East Exchange Avenue of the fifteen or so Texan Longhorn cattle (with six-feet horn spans) is done in good, educational taste. The drives occur, weather permitting, at 11.30am from the corrals behind the Livestock Exchange Building with the herd arriving back around 4pm; one of the best views can be found directly in front of the visitor center.
The Stockyards no longer host live cattle auctions ; instead, images are beamed by satellite into the huge 1902 Livestock Exchange Building at 131 E Exchange Ave, home of the Stockyards Collections Museum (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; free), packed with meaty memorabilia. The mission-style Cowtown Coliseum next door, used for rodeos (tel 817/625-1025, ; ticket prices vary) and concerts, is fronted with a bust of Bill Pickett, the black rodeo star who invented the unsavory but effective practice of "bulldogging" - stunning the bull by biting its lip.
Along with the restaurants and bars, the stores will have Western-wear obsessives in heaven. Look out for Fincher's rodeo equipment store and M.L. Leddy's expansive saddle shop; and check out the Maverick Trading Post, packed with hip, bright cowgirl regalia, and a bar serving good cold beers. They encourage you to drink first and buy later; this is not a good idea. If all the authenticity is too much to bear, there's a nearby mall with a slightly more tourist-friendly orientation: the shops and restaurants in the Stockyards Station , a brick-floored enclave in the old hog pens, are squeaky clean; one of the best is the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, next to the Stockyards Wedding Chapel. From here the magnificent Tarantula steam train puffs along to Eighth Avenue downtown (departs Wed-Sat noon, Sun 3pm; 30min; $10; tel 817/625-RAIL, ).
Walking past this place you may not take too much notice except for the enticement of ice cream or dessert advertised on the window. The name certainly gives no indication as to what can be found in this old historic saloon building in the stockyards. Inside there is the finest and largest privately owned collections of Texas art which has been put together by A.C. 'Ace' Cook who owned successful pawnshops until he became interested in Texas painters and their art. There is also many original early photographs from around Texas and many old advertising signs.
The art has been collected over about 30 years and in the 'Hockshop Collection'? there are more than 400 pieces - 70 of which are on the walls of The Bull Ring. Works include pieces such as May Schow's 'Mexican Girl' (1935), William Elliott's 'Workers Dallas' (1939), Dawson Dawson-Watson's 'Roses in the Hills' (1938), Olin Travis' 'Tom' (1937) and Frank P. Fisher Jr.'s 'Still Life with Green Grapes' (1939) and Douglas Chander's 'phonso Harrison' (1933). There are plenty of stories to go with the artwork as well.
While you are admiring the artwork you can order coffee, beer and sodas or Henry's homemade ice cream, smoothies, cheesecake or other desserts.