Today we went to the World’s Oldest Indoor Rodeo at the Fort Worth Stock Yards. And yes, it was truly our first rodeo. This was the 117th Rodeo and was held at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in Fort Worth. This is the last year the event will be held at Will Rogers. A new $450 million arena is being built a short distance away.

We got a great parking place in the handicap lot and found our way to the first exhibit hall. The range of vendors was outstanding! Of course, there was the western hats, boots, house decor and clothing for the entire family. The vendors also ranged from mattresses to furniture, fire pit and metal signs and fences to farm equipment, home improvements to home made butter, honey, and salsa. It was a great home show, a beautiful western wear boutique and a wonderful craft show rolled into one building. As we searched for the coliseum, we discovered another exhibit hall but didn’t have time to explore it.

The bunting hanging from the ceiling and on the arena walls during opening ceremony.

The events during the rodeo are more than a hundred years old and are sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. It remains true to its roots, traditions and values. They billed it as “old school,” and at the same time, very “cool.” At the end of the competition more than $700,000 in prize money would be awarded. Several of the Cowboys make above two million a year. Who knew there was so much money being a Cowboy!

The arena was darken and large light stars were displayed on the floor. Then the tradition and pageantry of the opening ceremonies and grand entry started. Two girls on palomino horses rode into the arena. One carrying the American flag and another one carrying the Texas flag. The rest of the color guard, also riding palomino horses, took their places at one end of the arena. The colors were posted followed by the invocation and singing of the national anthem. The group then sets pivots for the grand entry and the parade of rodeo officials started.

As the parade ended, fireworks went off, followed by the palominos galloping out of the arena, signaling the start of the rodeo.

The events for the afternoon included Bareback Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Tie Down Roping, Barrel Racking and Bull Riding.

During the 28 rodeo performances, there was a Calf Scramble at each performance. This is a contest of sorts that gives 16 Texas 4-H and FFA members the chance to catch one of eight calves released during the show. This year, $292,000 in scholarships will be awarded to 67 students. For the students who do not catch a calf, Justin Boots and Texas Mutual Insurance Company awarded a pair of Justin Boots. They give more than 227 pairs of boots yearly.

There were also Chuck wagon racing. It was mostly an exhibition event with hair-pin turns, split-second reactions and stone-faced concentration. The the event can reach top speeds of 30 mph as drivers try to outpace one another with a team of four horses pulling a chuck wagon. It takes talent and concentration to make it through the two minutes!! A fun event to watch.

As the rodeo ended, we made our way out of the arena and was in the middle of the full-blown outdoor carnival. Needless to say, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo can be more than a day event.