Buck Up, Partner!

A legendary Western event, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo rides again.

Written by Jenn Thornton

For those unable to rein in their enthusiasm for the Western lifestyle, its premier event, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, is saddling up for a Jan. 14-Feb 5 run at the Will Rogers Memorial Center and Dickies Arena in the city called Cowtown. Even if you’re old hat at this sort of thing—and especially if you’re not—you’ve never quite been to this rodeo, folks, one whose roots date back to 1896, making it the longest-running event of its kind. Now it’s back with a vengeance in 2022 with old faves and new fare drawing on its rich history.

A linchpin of Western tradition, the Stock Show has many claims to fame. Host of the first automobile exhibit in 1910. The first rodeo broadcasted on live national television coverage in 1958. Inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2008. It’s also been a magnet for major figures from its earliest days, including “bulldogging” Bill Pickett, former president Theodore Roosevelt (the Stock Show’s guest of honor in 1911) and Gene Autry. With the decades came expansion to the Show’s facilities, its programming, and its personalities.

In addition to its annual fare—carnival midway, a staggering number of livestock shows and some interesting VIP experiences (Bubbles & Bites, anyone?)—this year’s FWSSR isn’t horsing around. Well, not entirely, anyway. Festivities that will begin with the Best of the West Invitational Ranch Rodeo on Jan 14-15 will continue with the Best of Mexico Celebración-Hispanic Heritage Exhibition on Jan. 16. The Cowboys of Color Rodeo-Multicultural Event kicks into gear on Jan. 17, with the Bulls’ Night Out-PCRA Extreme Bull Riding set for Jan. 18-19 and Texas Champions Challenge on Jan. 20. Finally, from Jan. 21 to Feb 5, the FWSSR PRORODEO enters the arena with nearly 500 contestants competing in eight events—Bareback Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Tie-Down Roping, Women’s Breakaway Roping, Barrel Racing and Bull Riding—and a $1 million purse up for grabs.

Live performances are back in the saddle, too, with the Stock Show’s Auditorium Concert Series featuring ten-gallon talent by way of rock band Kansas, taking the stage on Jan. 19, and alt-country group the Old 97s on Jan. 21. Then, after mega country star Clint Black unloads his Top 10 repertoire on Jan. 27, Jeff Foxworthy will bow his Grammy-winning comedic bona fides on Jan. 28, with more acts to follow, including a nearly sold-out acoustical performance by Ryan Bingham on Feb. 5. And 2020’s popular Junior Ag Robotics Challenge, returns this year on Jan. 21, along with the Texas Invitational Mariachi Competition, featuring high school performers from El Paso to McAllen, on Jan. 22.

New to the Stock Show is the Escaramuza and Charro Cala competition, which combines colorful costumes and exceptional equestrian skills, on Jan. 30. Prior to this international event that will feature participating riders from Mexico, is the Charro Cala Clinic at Will Rogers Coliseum, hosted by top Mexico horse trainer Alejandro Goñi Rojo on Jan 29. Finally, on Feb. 4, the Stock Show’s answer to the grandstand procession at the Kentucky Derby—the Steer Parade—comes to the Will Rogers Coliseum.

The full roundup of events is online, but with a bench this deep, you might want to set aside a few hours to peruse it. “This Thing is Legendary!” after all.

For tickets and information, visit Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.

Photographs courtesy of Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo