FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A long-standing Fort Worth tradition returns to Cowtown on Friday as the Stock Show & Rodeo kicks off at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Crews have been working tirelessly to get everything ready for the big event.
Workers were up late on Thursday night, putting the finishing touches on the arena. And vendors were busy setting up their art and jewelry booths. The barricades are in place. Signs are up all over Fort Worth. The animals are ready. Now, the only thing that is needed is more people!
Livestock exhibiting began at 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning and the popular midway carnival opens up at 4:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon. The show lasts 23 days. A parade is scheduled for Saturday.
This is Tarrant County’s biggest event. It brings in more than 1 million visitors each year.
“The competing,” stated horse trainer Ben Baldus. “You are using a horse against a cow to compete as a team. Even the rodeo tonight and tomorrow night will be a great event with all those big ranches competing for the top prize.”
“It’s kind of giving back to the ordinary person,” added vendor Susan Stevlein. “Most of America — I would say 60 to 70 percent of the countryside — is all ranches. It’s just a great way to give back to the ordinary folk.”
But several nearby neighborhoods are not so thrilled about the show’s return, and the crowds that it will bring.
Voters in November approved a new 14,000-seat venue including a new livestock building and new plaza. That project is expected to cost about $450 million, with the city paying for half of the tab. Fort Worth officials promised that such a venue would draw in concerts, basketball games and ice shows.
Traffic is already busy in the arena, and neighbors fear that visitors will choose not to pay for parking, and instead drift onto the nearby residential streets. The city has been working with neighborhoods on solutions to this concern. One of the ideas includes adding parking costs into the price of event admissions.