Perhaps the best place to experience western heritage in Fort Worth is The Stockyards National Historic District, the section of the city that gives Fort Worth the “Cowtown” part of its identity. Each morning and afternoon in the Historic Stockyards, fifteen Texas longhorn cattle are rounded from their corral and driven by authentic cowhands down Exchange Avenue. The cowhands give visitors presentations on the vital role the cattle industry played in the growth and prosperity of the city and serve as goodwill ambassadors throughout the day. Take a guided tour through the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame or shop for a ten-gallon cowboy hat in Stockyards Station.
The Fort Worth Stockyards Rodeo (stockyardsrodeo.com) is held every weekend in Cowtown Coliseum, home of the world’s original indoor rodeo, in the historic Stockyards District. In addition to championship rodeo competitions, it also features historical reenactments of the original Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show. The show features trick roping, trick shooting, trick riding, and cowboy songs.
From mid-January through the first week of February, more than 21,000 head of livestock, including sheep, goats, cows, llamas, rabbits, and swine are displayed for prizes at the legendary Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (fwssr.com). The event is held at the 85-acre Will Rogers Memorial Center complex, an art deco inspired arena built in 1936 that anchors the Cultural District. The show drew more than 1 million visitors in 2016.