Culture / Entertainment

Fort Worth Rodeo’s Big Move to Dickies Arena Makes This a Cowboy Extravaganza Like No Other

Your Complete Rodeo Guide

BY // 01.13.20

This year marks a seismic shift in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s 124-year history. The highly anticipated annual event was held at Northside Coliseum, when it first debuted in 1908 and then moved to the Will Rogers Coliseum in 1944 for a more than half century run.

Now, it’s making the leap to Fort Worth’s new showcase venue Dickies Arena, This is something new for generations of Fort Worthians, who thought their collective memory would be bucked by the move from the traditional Will Rogers Coliseum. But, the gleaming new, world-class arena is making that transition feel nearly painless.

The dirt floor is in place, and seats in the arena have been shifted to ground level, so visitors can experience the spectacle up close… and maybe even get a little dirt kicked in their beer.

This is Fort Worth’s favorite time of year, when urban cowboys, and gentlemen ranchers get to don their best western duds and rub elbows with true cattle folk. This is the season when bolo ties and slim-brimmed Amon Carter “Shady Oaks” style hats provide just the right vintage feel, and urban cowgirls add a touch of bling and mink to their get up.

If you look closely, it’s easy to tell the two apart. The real cattle people with have rough hands from bailing hay and meticulously grooming their livestock for show. Their boots will have actual dirt on them, and they’ll likely be wearing spurs.

Dickies Arena North Main Lobby (Photo by Courtney Dabney)
Dickies Arena’s North Main Lobby looks like it belongs in a billionaire’s palace. (Photo by Courtney Dabney)

Inside the arena, club seat ticket holders will have access to one of Dickies’ luxe clubs. Both the North and South Club areas have massive bars and ample room to view the action, while whetting your whistle. And, the premium bar, which is named TX Tavern, for Fort Worth’s hometown whiskey distillery, will have long lines of rodeo goers cuing up, in search of “the good stuff.”

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“We now have 20 camera angles, and when you marry that with the second largest continuous video screen in America…the vividness and intensity of what’s happening on the arena floor, will be right in your face at Dickies this year,” says Matt Brockman, publicity manager of the Rodeo.

New Arena Just the Start

New venues, entertainment and competitions have been added to this year’s rodeo roundup as well.

Concerts by both Foreigner and Home Free will be held in Will Rogers Auditorium, the iconic venue that has welcomed acts like Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones and Stevie Ray Vaughan throughout its history.

For those not satisfied to sip beer alone, The Corkyard will add to the ambiance this year, selling wines by the glass on Simmons Bank Plaza, which connects Dickies Arena to the stock show grounds beyond. That is where you’ll find the tented Bud Light Roadhouse as well this year ― anyone with a grounds pass can enjoy libations and live music.

A brand new, Bubbles and Bites event has been added at 11 am on Sunday February 2. The ticketed event will feature local chefs pairing their dishes with champagne. The, not-so-western event will be held in the Round Up Inn.

That same day, another exuberant competition has been added. The first FWSSR Texas Invitational Escaramuza competition will be held at noon in the Will Rogers Coliseum. The female side-saddle riders will display their horsemanship, riding in formation in full Mexican costumes.

Top high school mariachi teams will compete on Saturday, January 25 in the FWSSR Texas Invitational Mariachi Competition.

The iconic Budweiser Clydesdales will even lend their giant hooves of approval to this year’s rodeo. They will perform daily at one rodeo performance and will be available for free viewing with grounds admission in the southeast corner of the Burnett Building.

“For the first time ever, the rodeo will host a high school rodeo competition, showcasing high-schoolers who will be competing for $26,000 in scholarship money,” Brockman says. The Mustang Magic event, which has been held in the Justin Arena in the past, will also take place in the Will Rogers Coliseum, as will the expanded Steer Show.

Rodeo Food

While you can easily fill up on corn dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes at the midway, there is plenty more to enjoy.

Reata at the Rodeo is still in place, both in the its Backstage venue at the Amon G. Carter Coliseum, where the Backstage Club has been serving Rodeo guests for going on half a century. The once exclusive Backstage Club now requires no membership, but reservations are necessary to ensure your table.

The other Reata restaurant is located across from the Round Up Inn Food Court and the bustling Exhibits Hall ― which will be selling everything from horse bits to boots and from tack to tractors. Both Reatas will be serving the same top notch steaks, chicken-frieds and carne asadas with cheese enchiladas you can find in its permanent downtown location.

La Espuela Mexican Cantina (also run by Reata) is a fast casual Mexican restaurant. La Espuela’s menu includes chicken tacos, quesadillas, beef burrito and taco salad. And, Weatherford’s own, Mamma Monica, promises farm-to-table Italian fare cooked fresh from scratch.

In other words, come hungry.

This year’s Fort Worth Rodeo lineup also includes: Fredericksburg Mini Doughnut Company, Stubby’s Cinnamon Rolls, local favorite Mama’s Pizza, Sweetie’s Cheesecakes, Steel City Pops and the ever popular Coburn’s BBQ.

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo runs from this Friday, January 17 through February 8th. For the full Rodeo lineup, click here.

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