Despite fewer visitors, Fort Worth Stock Show sees higher number of contestants 

dfwnewsa | February 6, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Despite fewer visitors, Fort Worth Stock Show sees higher number of contestants 

Workers taking down a roller coaster from the Stock Show carnival next to the Will Rogers Memorial Center on Feb. 5, 2024. (Camilo Diaz | Fort Worth Report)
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The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo saw a decrease in visitors this year compared to its record-breaking numbers in 2023 but an increase in contest entries. Stock show officials cite cold weather at the beginning of the show for the decrease.An estimated 1.14 million people visited between Jan. 12 and Feb. 3, a 9.9% decrease from the show’s record-breaking previous year that saw 1.27 million visitors. Weather tends to dictate the amount of visitors any given year, stock show spokesman Matt Brockman said. While last year had some snow, it fell on days that traditionally have lighter attendance, Brockman said. This year, some of the coldest days of the year occurred in the first 10 days, which tends to be the period of highest attendance. 

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“It’s just an issue of the weather that Mother Nature deals, and where that falls,” Brockman said. Brockman doesn’t find the decrease in attendance concerning — lower attendance revenue can be offset by the amount of entry fees the show receives. This year, the show had 34,179 entries for shows and contests, a 6.3% increase compared to last year. Junior contest entries increased by 2.85% compared to 2023, seeing 12,048 entries. Leadfoot, a European Cross, won the title of junior grand champion steer and sold for $340,000. 

By the numbers: Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

Entries

Livestock / Poultry, Pigeon and Rabbits / Jr. Ag Robotics / Jr. Ag Mechanics / Judging Contests – 26,956 (6.87% increase from 2023)

Jr. Heifer Show Beef Challenge – 60 (15.38% increase from 2023)

Art Contest – 2,040 (8.68% increase from 2023)

Horses / Equine IQ Contest / Equine Public Speaking Challenge / Fiddle Showdown / Bridles & Brains Competition / Escaramuza & Charro Cala Competitions – 4,993 (2.74% increase from 2023)

Mariachi Competition – 8 teams (same as 2023)

Sheep Dog Trials – 77 (2.53% decrease from 2023)

Texas MADE Competition – 45 (same as 2023)

Total Overall Entries – 34,179 (6.33% increase from 2023)

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Total Jr. Entries – 12,048 (2.85% increase from 2023)

Texas Counties Represented by Youth Participants – 243 (239 in 2023)

States Represented in Open Livestock Shows – 36 (33 in 2023)

Attendance

Estimated Total Attendance – 1,144,305 (9.9% decrease from 2023)

Brockman attributes the growth in junior contest entries to the growth in agriculture programs in schools across Texas’ major cities, including Fort Worth. 

“As these urban and suburban school districts … ag science programs grow, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is just a beneficiary of growth,” Brockman said.Visit Fort Worth, the city’s tourism bureau, did not yet have new numbers related to how the event benefited the city’s hospitality industry. But some local hotels, such as the newly built Bowie House and Crescent Hotel in the Cultural District, reported increased numbers of visitors.Gaylord Lamy, the general manager at Bowie House, said the 106-room hotel was nearly completely booked for the past three weekends with short-term bookings. The hotel’s bar and restaurant offered a rodeo-specific menu called the “Pony Express” that moved people in and out quickly before going to the event. The bar and restaurant saw increased business every day of the week, averaging 80-110 covers a night, which is what they expected.“What we did not expect as much is the hotel picking up,” Lamy said. “We know hotels see a little bit of business increase over rodeo, but I think in the past, downtown has been a little too far. But because we’re so (close to) the venue, I think it was a great month for us and I assume other hotels.” Robert Rechtermann, general manager of the Crescent Hotel at 3300 Camp Bowie Blvd., also said in an email to the Fort Worth Report that the hotel and lobby bar was packed with rodeo goers. The hotel’s lobby bar saw increased traffic on the weekends. The hotel provided valet parking and transportation to Dickies Arena for the event. 

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Craig Cavileer, executive vice president of Majestic Realty and managing partner of the Fort Worth Stockyards and Hotel Drover, noted the stockyards saw 491,000 visitors during the three-week stock show period — a 5% increase compared to average weekly levels. The hotel and restaurant inside saw guests from states such as New York, Tennessee and Louisiana.“Fridays and Saturdays were among the liveliest days at the resort, with Western fashion on full display at every turn,” Cavileer wrote in an email. 

Seth Bodine is a business and economic development reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at seth.bodine@fortworthreport.org or follow @sbodine120 on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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