Ride ‘em Cowboys!

While in Dallas-Fort Worth, we went looking for a rodeo, a real rodeo with ropin’, ridin’ and maybe a little clownin’ as well. There are a few choices, but none are as historic as the Stockyards Championship Rodeo, a weekly event held in the Cowtown Coliseum in the midst of the Fort Worth Stockyards an historic district in downtown Fort Worth.

The Cowtown Coliseum is one of Fort Worth’s oldest venues. The 3,418 seat multi-purpose arena was completed in 1908 and has been host to a number of important firsts – the first indoor rodeo (1908), the first live radio broadcast of a rodeo (1923) and the introduction of bull riding to rodeo (1934). But that’s not all, the Cowtown Coliseum is also used for arena football and hosted Bob Hope and Elvis Presley for concerts.

So we arrived unfashionably early for the 8 o’clock rodeo, grabbed a beer and walked around the coliseum. Cowtown is home to the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.  The Hall of Fame was officially created in 2001 to honor Texas men and women who have excelled in the sport and business of rodeo.  Bull fighters, riders, ropers, cattle ranchers and promoters have all found a home here. These are real cowboys and cowgirls, men and women who have dedicated their lives to their passion – and though we didn’t recognize many, it’s a perfect complement for those visiting the Stockyard.

Then, it was on to the main event. We splurged for box seats so close we could see the snot from the angry bulls, feel the horses gallop by and hear the anxious moos of the ropin’ calves – and we weren’t disappointed. Cowboys from all over the Southwest give their all each week to compete for cash prizes, tournament advancement and coveted gold buckles.

The two-hour event included two sessions of bull riding, two separate roping competitions, barrel races and two adorable scrambles that found 8-12 year olds chasing a young calf and a full-grown sheep for prizes.  My description wouldn’t do it justice, so here are some great photos.

For tickets or to plan a visit, click here.