Fort Worth and the Western Experience
Steers and Rodeos
Every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., the Fort Worth Herd is held — called “the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive.” Real cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down Exchange Avenue. The best places for viewing the drive are at any restaurant with outdoor seating, in front of the Stockyards Visitors Center, and the lawn in front of the Stockyard Exchange Building. The steers can be viewed both before and after the drive in their pens behind the Livestock Exchange Building (131 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth, 76164), and the drovers are available for photos and questions.
Want to see a real Texas rodeo? Every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., the Stockyards Championship Rodeo is held in the 3,418-seat Cowtown Coliseum. The two-hour show strives to give visitors an authentic rodeo experience. Events include tie-down roping, breakaway roping, team roping and barrel racing, and rough stock events such as bull riding. On Saturday nights, more rough stock events are added like bronc riding, bareback, and ranch bronc riding. The Cowtown Coliseum is located at 121 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth, 76164.
A genuine wild west show is held within the Stockyards District. Every Saturday at 2:30 and 4:30, Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show takes over the Cowtown Coliseum with trick roping, trick shooting, trick riding, cowboy singers, gunfights, and a ceremonial Native American dance. Everyone in the family will love this action-packed, entertaining look at rodeo history.
Stockyards National Historic District
One of the most popular attractions in the Lone Star State, the 98-acre Stockyards National Historic District in Fort Worth celebrates the city’s long history in the cattle industry. The Fort Worth Stockyards are the last standing stockyards in the United States and now comprise a sweeping entertainment and shopping area. There are wooden corrals and old brick streets lined with historic buildings, restaurants, shops, saloons, and many other attractions. The official address is 2501 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, 76164.
Cowboys and Honky-Tonks
For a fascinating slice of the history of the old west, visit the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. Displays pay tribute to 76 of the best cowboys and cowgirls who were experts in the sports of rodeo, cutting, and ranching, as well as those individuals who dedicated their lives to promoting and preserving Texas Western heritage. Among the most popular and largest exhibits is the Sterquell Wagon Collection, which features about 60 vintage horse-drawn vehicles. The museum is located at 2515 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, 76164. It is open Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For a foot-stomping good time, be sure to stop by Billy Bob’s Texas, billed as “the world’s largest honky-tonk.” A little bit of everything is available in the almost 3 acres of space inside the former cattle barn built in 1910. There is a rodeo arena where bull riding events are held every Friday and Saturday, a huge dance floor, dozens of bar stations, a restaurant featuring authentic Texas fare, pizza kitchen, arcade games, casino, and a gift shop. Live music every night and a fun western atmosphere make Billy Bob’s Texas a can’t-miss-it stop in Fort Worth. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sunday from noon to 2 a.m. You can find it at 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth, 76164.
Along with the daily and weekly events at the Stockyards, plenty of big-name singers, bands, and musicians stop by for concerts. Check fortworthstockyards.org to see what’s coming up.
Even More, Buckaroo
There are lots and lots of other activities at the Stockyards. Get an old-time photo taken. Ride a mechanical bull. Take a historic walking tour. Stop by a dancehall or saloon. Try to get through a cattle pen maze. Visit the Cowtown Opry and Cowtown Winery. Take a stockyard ghost tour. See the Stockyards on a bicycle or Segway. Go horseback riding.
Finally, the Stockyards District features some of the best Western-themed shopping on either side of the Rio Grande. Whether you’re looking for a custom-made cowboy hat or boots, belt, buckle, saddle, jewelry, art, vintage records, antiques, gifts and souvenirs, or even a tattoo, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Stockyards.
For a genuine Western experience, take the short trip to Fort Worth and visit the Stockyards National Historic District. Be transported back to the old West and experience the sights, smells, and sounds of Cowtown as it was over a century ago.
Reckon you’ll be glad you did, pardner.