FORT WORTH – You might catch a unique whiff in the air in Fort Worth over the next month.
The Stock Show and Rodeo at the Will Rogers Memorial Center starts up Friday, with gates opening at 8 a.m. The annual event runs through Feb. 3.
Here are eight things to know about the Stock Show — and what to expect when you get there:
1. It’s not at the Stockyards. This might sound like a no-brainer to Fort Worth residents. But for those not as familiar with Cowtown, there’s the Stockyards on the city’s north side, where tourists flock to see daily cattle drives and Billy Bob’s Texas, and there’s the Will Rogers Memorial Center on the west side. The stock show has been held at Will Rogers since 1944.
2. How to get in. Admission to the Stock Show (including the carnival midway) costs $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-16. Children five and under get in free. On-site parking costs $12 per vehicle. Here’s a list of the main parking lots.
Rodeo tickets are sold separately, typically starting at about $30, but your rodeo ticket will get you into the stock show.
3. There’s a lot of cash in that livestock. Last year’s grand champion steer, a European crossbred from Grandview named Rocco, sold for $240,000. The grand champion barrow sold for $42,000 and the grand champion lamb sold for $40,000. There’s plenty of competition for the top prizes: The junior stock show typically draws more than 10,000 entries.
4. They’ve been at this for a while. The first Stock Show was in March of 1896 in north Fort Worth. The name changed to the “Texas Fat Stock Show” in 1901. The current name — the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show — was adopted in 1987.
5. A new arena is on the rise. It’ll be hard to miss construction project next door to the Will Rogers Coliseum. The 14,000-seat Dickies Arena is expected to be completed by November 2019, in time for the 2020 rodeo. The arena will also host first- and second-round games of the NCAA basketball tournament in 2022.
6. The rodeo isn’t just for show. Fort Worth is an official stop on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) circuit. Last year’s competitors earned more than $700,000 in winnings between the rodeo and Xtreme Bulls events.
7. Speaking of rodeo… This year marks 100 years since the first rodeo was held at the stock show inside the Northside Coliseum, the first indoor rodeo in the world.
8. Not into cows, pigs and horses? There’s a full schedule of live music, too, mostly featuring Texas Country artists. Admission to the Coors Light Roadhouse is $10 after 9 p.m. or free with a rodeo ticket or Stock Show badge.