During the middle of the 1800's the path between Texas and prime grazing country to the North was known as the Chisholm trail. When you look at a map of this path, Fort Worth naturally sticks out in your mind as an ideal location to re-supply before heading north across the Red River and into Indian country. As the cattle drivers grew in number and also head of cattle, the necessity came due to have some sort of system for keeping the cattle before they headed north. The Stockyards area was not the original location for this herding, but became much more viable in the late 1800's when it was determined that the best way to move the herds were via railroad, and the best place to put this railway was north of town by a couple miles, which is the current location of the stockyards.
The sheer numbers of animals that have moved through this area is amazing. In 1944, over 5 million head of livestock made it through this area, where as only 50,000 went through after 1986 annually.
These days, you only have to be worried about being run over by cattle two times a day, and most of the fun comes from inside the rodeo arena, but there is something for everyone here now.
Antique shopping, gifts and post cards, good dining, and of course the western activities such as mechanical bull riding, calf roping, and other things. Enjoy your time in the historical area!
This Bull Ring -has a wooden picnic table on the sidewalk. It is a Restored old Saloon next door to White Elephant Saloon has one of the most extensive collections of early 1900s Texas art on the walls. Open on Mon. when other Museums are closed this Bull Ring is also a Starbucks so get your special Latte there.
This building when as a Saloon in the 1950s was the place of one of the last murders in the modern Stockyards when a couple men go into a fignt in the basement over a shffle board game.
If you love good Strawberry Ice Cream, they have a special brand available only at hotels and restaurants which is the "Best Strawberry Ice cream in Texas".
Be Sure to Check this place out-it is one of the best kept secrets in the Stockyards!
The Trail Drive is free and is a definite Must See. The other Must See in this area is the Historic Walking Tour. We didn't take this tour because it didn't work out time-wise for us, plus I have difficulty walking and I didn't think our 3 year old granddaughter would appreciate it, but it looked good. There are also tours for school groups;
Their website says: "To fully appreciate the exciting history of the Stockyards we recommend you take our guided walking tour from the Visitor's Center. Your expert guide will take you through the various sites of interest such as:
* Livestock Exchange Building - once considered the heartbeat of the Livestock Business
*Cowtown Coliseum - home of the world's first Indoor Rodeo
* Stockyards Station - former pig & sheep pens
* Cattlemen’s catwalk - panoramic view of the cattle pens
* Mule Alley - once the "Finest Stables in the World"
* Billy Bob’s Texas - "The World's Largest Honky Tonk" - Optional
* Trail of Fame
"The 12-minute video “The Spirit of the West” which gives the history of Fort Worth and the cattle business truly brings to life the importance of the buildings in the National Historic District. The video is shown throughout the day."
Walking Tours depart daily Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Sunday - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.
Cowboy Tour (Adult) $7.00
Cowboy Tour (Senior 65+) $6.00
Cowboy (Child 6-12 yrs) $5.00
Step On Bus & Van Tours Are Also Available.
We also offer “Step-On” Tours. A guide will board your vehicle and deliver a running historic commentary as you view the Stockyards National Historic District from the comfort of your bus.
Step On Rate:
$50.00 per motor coach
$35.00 per mid size bus
$25.00 per van
Our perfect Friday Nov 23 2007 in the Stockyards (after doing free line dancing lesson at Billy Bob’s 7-8 every Thurs night, $1 cover)
Book online ahead of time: lunch res at Lonesome Dove Bistro for 1:30 ~$15 per lunch at http://www.lonesomedovebistro.com/, 3:30-4:30 Trinity River Run train $10@ at http://www.grapevinesteamrailroad.com, and 8 pm Rodeo $20@ box seats at http://www.cowtowncoliseum.com/
Park in lot on E. Exchange for $5 around 10:45 am, walk to the Visitor's Center and pay $6-7@ for the noon walking tour and find out about horseback rides in the afternoon. Stand on the curb in front of the Livestock Exchange and around 11 a guy will tie a longhorn steer to the rail and let you mount to take pic for a tip. See herd come down street at 11:30 from the Stockyards Station end. Walk over to the Station and in the center track they will do a fake gunfight at 11:45. Go to Visitor Ctr for informative walking tour explaining the whole area 12:00-1:25. Walk back up to N. Main and turn left and eat a WONDERFUL lunch at Lonesome Dove Bistro at your 1:30 res. Walk back to the Station and spend 20 min shopping and pick up your train tix. Around 3 the train pulls in. Can board at 3:15. Recommend sitting in regular passenger car with cushioned seats & reversible backs since you can bring the food back from the food cars that only have wooden slat seats. Relaxing trip out and back 3:30-4:30. Views of downtown Ft Worth skyscrapers, two rivers, park areas, etc. 4:30-7 you could maybe do a horseback trip from the Livery (closed when we were there) or visit the museums, wood slat maze, mechanical bull, shop. Pick up rodeo tickets. At 7pm try Riscky's Trailboss Burgers in the Station for $8 buffalo burgers with fries. Walk to Coliseum to your res box seats and enjoy a 8pm fun rodeo with bullriding, roping, barrel racing, and two kids' activities (coach your kids ages 2-12 to run and grab the ribbon on the tail of the calf or the sheep no matter how the clowns try to distract them). Full, fun, day.
When we glimpsed our first rodeo, we loved the excitement of it! The rodeo is held at the Ft. Worth Coliseum on Friday and Saturday evenings. Tickets can be purchased over the internet or at the ticket window at the Coliseum.
Men, women and children performed that night in all kinds of competitions.Our particular rodeo was called the HY O Silver Buckle Series and featured:
Bull Riding Events,
Tie Down Roping,
Team Roping and
Each event was thrilling to watch and much appreciated by the cheering audience--I thought the bull riding was amazing! I grabbed a pic of one of the younger competitors that night!
A Calf Scramble brought kids from all ages out to the ring to snatch a yellow ribbon from the animals tail. The winner got a coupon for a pair of Justin Boots. It took some convincing, but our grandson tried his best at this contest and just about had the ribbon in his hands but missed by a hair! It was a fun two hours for all of us. Afterwards, our ticket stubs gained us entrance to Billy's Bob's Texas at no charge.
Tickets cost from $11.00 to $15.00 per person, depending on the location. A seating chart is available on the website.
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?
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