FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) — The executive committee of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo has voted unanimously to cancel the 2021 show.

The rodeo was scheduled to run Jan. 15 through Feb. 6.

Organizers say consultations with infectious disease and public health professionals indicate the Stock Show would rank as a “very high risk” for spread of COVID-19.

Daily stock show attendance can exceed 140,000 people that crowd into buildings at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

Each year more than 30,000 animals are typically exhibited in 3,770 classes for horses, livestock, poultry, rabbits and ag mechanics in addition to approximately 2,300 participants in the art contest, judging contests, rodeos and many other competitions and exhibitions.

(credit: Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo)

“This is a heartbreaking decision for our leadership and was not made lightly,” said Stock Show President and General Manager, Brad Barnes. “Unfortunately, the challenges we face to create practical and enforceable protocols and procedures to comply with COVID-19 guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are extremely daunting. The uncertainty of the virus potential spread across Texas and the nation during the upcoming flu season was another major factor weighing on our decision.”

The decision was made to cancel all FWSSR events and features as opposed to allowing some to be held at the expense of others.

“When you think about the 4h and ffa kids who come here from all over the state with their families to show these animals, and they’re grooming them and working with them. Very close contact,” stock show participant Kelly Riley said.

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo attracts exhibitors from some 235 of Texas’ 254 counties and 40 states.

Riley, who has attended the stock show for decades and serves on several committees, said the cancellation will leave a void in the winter, but he didn’t see a way to make it work.

“As sad as I am about it, I think it was the right thing to do,” Riley said.

The only other time the Stock Show was cancelled was in 1943 — near the height of World War II.

“The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja. “We support the Stock Show’s executive committee in making this difficult decision.”