By: Malcolm Mayhew
It’s Rodeo time, y'all. So, "git yer western wear outta tha chester drawers and put yer kicker on cuz we’re gawna be ridin’ high on a gravy train with biscuit wheels."
Around here, the Stock Show is like a holiday. So, to help you celebrate, I have the exclusive and updated insider scoop on the best of the best for the 2016 Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. From grub n’ supper to belly washers and boot scoot’n…so grab yer podner n’ do-si-do, come down yonder for a show that’s sure to make you chirk.
Mutton Bustin’ – January 15, 16, 18, 19, & 20 @ 7:30 PM Rodeo
This is a crowd favorite, fun-filled competition where a few lucky children climb on the back of a sheep and hold on for eight exciting seconds. You’ll see a bunch of Who’s Who kiddos out there hold'n on for dear life. It’s great fun for the whole family.
All Western Parade – Saturday, January 16 @ 11:00 AM Downtown
World’s largest, all-western, non-motorized parade in downtown Fort Worth. Reserve your “bleacher style” seating at (817) 877-2420. Fort Worth Stock Show Official Parade Route HERE!
Celebrity Goat Milking Contest – Saturday, January 16 @ 6:00 PM Cattle Arena
Come see me, along with local TV anchors, reporters and personalities compete for bragging rights during this hilarious competition you don’t want to miss, followed by the Goat Creative Costume Contest.
Tarrant County School Day (Grades 6-12) – Monday, January 18
Senior Citizen Days – every Friday
Old farts, blue-hairs and slow walkers age 65 and over will be admitted to the Stock Show grounds all day each Friday for just $5.
Kids Gone Wild – Sunday, January 24 @ 11 AM – 6 PM Cattle Arena
This event, partnered with the Texas Wildlife Association will be brimming with educational exhibits, wildlife and outdoor activities for all your little cowpokes. Your kids won’t even know they’re learning while they’re engaged in all these exciting interactive activities, including fishing, shooting arrows and firing air guns.
Tarrant County School Day (Grades Pre K-5) – Friday, February 5
Finals Weekend & Champions' Saturday– Friday & Saturday, February 5 & 6 @ 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM
Not to be missed! It's the Who's Who of the FWSS. If you look carefully in the stands, you might spot celebrities from George Strait (his son rodeos), Val Kilmer, Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall, just to name a few during these last two days.
Syndicate Sale – Saturday, February 6 @ 9 AM
A.K.A - Fort Worth Stock Show Sale of Champions. Businesses from all over come to see and be seen as buyers of some pretty pricey meat. The top 200+ placing livestock will be sold. Everyone is there for a good time and to help raise money for scholarship funds for the kiddos who raise the steers. I hear the grand champ steer being sold that day will go for more than $200,000 (BTW, any guy wearing a bigass metal lapel pin could be a Syndicate member)
As for the best places to go "yonder to get your fixin’s and bug juice" during the Stock Show, you don’t want to miss any of the following:
Reata at the Backstage Club – MEMBERS ONLY
The. Place. To. Be…bar none!!! Overlooking the coliseum, the Backstage Club has an extensive history of dining and social gathering for more than 50 years, and has been frequented by politicians, movie stars and other celebrities. With a pared-down Reata menu and full bar, this is the best place to get a pre- or post-rodeo belly washer and side of calf fries.
For more information on how to become a member, click here.
La Espuela Mexican Cantina - This Reata-run restaurant is open for just three weeks during the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. If you miss this delicious fare, then you will have to wait a whole nutha year.
Coors Rodeo Roadhouse – Live music venue. If you’re a boot-scooter, two-stepper, break dancer or you just flat out Gangnam Style it, this is the best “Club in da House"! You’ll be worn out by the time you leave this joint. Admission is free with your daily grounds ticket, souvenir pin, or that day’s rodeo ticket. A Platinum line up with talent like Luke Wade, Charlie Robinson, Ray Wylie Hubard and many others will help you stay out till the cows come home. View the full entertainment line up here.
Whether you want to drink n’ dash or strap on a feed-bag, these are the best “Off Grounds” hootenanny spots.
• Bella Italia West – A cozy place for cocktails in the bar before heading to the coliseum.
• Del Frisco’s – Always a classic and the place to see and be seen.
• Eddie V’s – Happy hour all day Sun & Mon with $2 off drinks and $6 wines with appetizer specials.
• Fred’s Texas Café – Happy hour from 3:00-6:00 and anytime it’s raining. Live music Tue, Thurs, Fri nights and Sat & Sun starting at noon.
• Magnolia Motor Lounge- Catch local, regional and national bands at this Texas music scene featuring American grub, craft beers, and nightly music seven days a week.
• Max’s Wine Dive - Fried chicken and champagne before the Rodeo? Why the hell not?!
• Michaels Cuisine - Check out their special Stock Show menu of contemporary ranch cuisine.
• Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse – An all you can eat meat. Need I say more?
• Railhead BBQ – Best BBQ in Fort Worth, period.
• Rodeo Goat - Featured burger just for the Stock Show called the Southwestern Burger. Special beer event on Wednesday, January 20th with Rahr and USS Fort Worth beers
• Sip Wine Bar & The Cup Espresso Bar- Bring your grounds admission or rodeo ticket from that day and receive 20% off your entire bill at this darling coffee & neighborhood bar.
• Thirteen Pies - Serves outstanding artisan pizzas made in hot wood-fired ovens, as well as items that naturally complement pizza.
• Waters - See everyone in their cowboy gear walking by the wall of glass outside the bar while you enjoy half-priced oysters during happy hour every day from 3:00-6:00. Jon Bonnell's bringing back his ever popular bone-in ribeye just for the rodeo. Don't forget to pair that with a Firestone&Robertson Bourbon bread pudding, too.
• The Wild Mushroom – In celebration of the Stock Show, Jerrett Joslin's award-winning steak and seafood house is offering half-priced appetizers all day when you show them your grounds admission or rodeo ticket, plus from 5 - 7 p.m. he is offering a pre-rodeo dinner with champagne to fill your belly and get you on your way in time to see the dirt fly, all for $80 a couple.
• Winslow’s Wine Café – The perfect spot for cocktails and nibbles before and after the show in the heart of 76107. Enjoy 30% off all bottles of wine on Sunday's and Tuesday's.
• Woodshed Smokehouse – It’s true what they say about Texas..everything’s bigger, including the huge selection of all things grilled, roasted and slow cooked over a variety of wood and fire sources at Tim Love’s very own open-aired entertainment venue.
For a seriously authentic and nostalgic dining, dancing and drinking experience (especially during this time of the year), head over to the North Side. Here is a list of the hottest places in and around the Stockyards to see some real cowboy action. Some of these joints give "hick” a whole new meaning, so don’t act like a Skipjack or you might get castrated!
• Billy Bob’s Texas – The world’s largest honky tonk
• The Cantina Cadillac a.k.a. Cadillac Bar - Fort Worth Texas' premier rodeo hot spot. A real taste of the cowboy; rancher; rodeo life. Open Thursday through Sunday with drink specials every night!
• Cattlemen’s Steak House - One of the Stockyards oldest and beloved by all steak houses.
• H3 Ranch Booger Red’s Saloon - Named in honor of the legendary Texas bronc-busting champion Samuel Thomas Privett (1858-1926) has the most complete selection of tequilas in Fort Worth.
• Joe T Garcia's – if your new to this neck of the woods, this is a must. Be prepared to wait in lines to eat at this world famous Mexican restaurant.
• Lonesome Dove Western Bistro - Tim Love’s innovative menu is influenced by all of the ingredients and cultures that have been a part of the West. An upscale Stockyard favorite.
• Love Shack - This live music and burger joint puts a signature Western spin on classics like Texas Angus burgers and hand-cut fries. Cool and unique venue.
• Panther Island Brewing Company – Located between the Stockyards and downtown, this unique and beautiful craft brewery is only open to the public on Friday nights from 5-9, with a $10 cover charge that includes 3 high ABV beers. Bring your grounds admission or rodeo ticket from any day of the Stock Show on Friday, Jan 15th, 22nd , 29th and Feb 5th for an extra 16oz beer.
• White Elephant Saloon - Offering cold beer, cocktails, and live Texas music seven nights a week, this classic saloon continues to provide Western hospitality that made “Hell’s Half Acre” famous.
Now, before you run out and get stupid with the giggle juice all over town, you better dress up like the Howdy Queen and King. Here are my picks to git yer Western on:
Money Saving & Rodeo Insider Tips Not To Be Missed
2016 Star-Telegram Press Pass Discounts:
Press Pass Holders Receive:
$2 off adult grounds admission every day (regularly $10)
$6 off weekday Matinee Rodeo Performances (regularly $19)
Gold Press Pass Holders Receive:
$10 off ALL $19 Performances (savings of 53%) Limit (4) discounts per valid Pass
All Cardholders: HALF-OFF Wednesday Grounds Admission & Midway Coupons
The Moos-eum Experience:
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, Cattle Raisers Museum & National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame all have something in common:
Receive FREE ADMISSION to these venues with your Stock Show grounds admission ticket. PLUS, members of these museums get FREE ADMISSION to the Stock Show grounds. All you have to do is present this official Voucher, bring a photo ID and your Valid Membership Card when you come to the Stock Show! Nice perk, huh!
Member at the Modern?: Flash your membership card to the parking attendant and park in the museum's lot, for FREE!
Discounted Midway Tickets: Purchase HERE
And here’s a whole ‘nuther thang. Yawl be doin’ aw’ right when you add the RODEO APP to your smart phone. This unique app is filled with all kinds of bells, whistles, and games too! It's a must have! I love it. Oh, and don't forget to hashtag #FWSSR on all your social media postings while hanging around the stalls, pens and barns.
Rodeo Programs: Junior League of Fort Worth sells Rodeo programs for $3. A dollar of that goes to Junior League and back into the community through various projects. Before you go into the Rodeo, stop and get a program from the gals who are yelling "PROGRAM" standing behind the red booths at the entry. They are competing for the honor of “most programs sold”. Programs are good pre-Rodeo entertainment. We always buy up more than we need and give the extras to someone who might be on the fence about spending extra money.
Funnel Cake: If you love fresh funnel cakes, be sure to purchase one outside. A “no open grease” city ordinance means the cakes inside are pre-made and are kept under a heat lamp.
Texas Skillet: Home of the biggest, most bad-ass Cowboy Burrito. Plus, the prices can't be beat for the quantity of food you'll eat.
Mama's Pizza: It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Mama's Pizza, and now that they have moved from the exhibit hall to the Round Up Inn food court, you surly won't miss a delicious slice of heaven.
Do you have any insider tips? Email me at [email protected] and it just might be added to this list.
SoFortWorthIt Rodeo Giveaway
By: Malcolm Mayhew