FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo opens this week, and fans will notice a change at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. After a pair of tragedies, the clean white concrete wall that surrounds the arena is getting a new look this year.
Last year, two horses ran straight into the arena’s wall, hitting it head first and suffering fatal injuries.
The wall was built in 1936 and has been part of the arena’s signature look. However, knowing that something had to be done, organizers reached out to people who have experience in similar sporting impacts — Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage, the company that makes dasher boards for hockey rinks, and the company that makes padding for gymnasts.
A new wall system was designed in the fall, in hopes of better absorbing any impact that may occur during the show. The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo spent more than $100,000 creating the new system.
The solid white wall is gone, but the show’s veterinarian believes that the new design might help the animals see better. “Some definition to things, where a white wall was just like a snowstorm. You can’t see,” said Dr. Bill Anderson.
When asked if the arena’s new wall system would work, Anderson said, “I don’t know. We’re going to have to wait and see. But it’s a start.”