Fort Worth was Cowtown-in-the-making some 150 years ago when the early cattle drives stopped over on their way up the famed Chisholm Trail. Now, a century-and-a-half later, cowboy history continues to be made as Fort Worth embraces the USTRC’s 2020 move into the Will Rogers Memorial Center’s John Justin Arena for its 31 National Finals of Team Roping presented by Cinch. Not only does this year feature a new cowboy locale with all the dining, shopping, history and entertainment a roper could hope for, it also highlights the reintroduction of the famed USTRC Open Roping, as well as the never-before-offered Rope Horse Sale.
The Date: September 7 - 14. The USTRC and the World Series of Team Roping have long recognized that October and December association roping finals were a little close for comfort. The US Finals is now moved to September 7 through September 14
• The Location: The John Justin Arena at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. Fort Worth offers a bevy of cowboy action suited to accommodate the whole family. From daily cattle drives and world-famous honky-tonks to legendary cowboy museums, you’re going to wish you had a whole extra week in Fort Worth just to fit it all in.
• The Open. There was no denying the success of the 2019 WSTR Finale Open in Las Vegas. Ropers and spectators alike were thrilled to have the event and the USTRC took note. The fun begins on Wednesday, April 22, around 6:00 p.m. It’s a 5-steer, enter-twice event for $500.
• The Sale. After also recognizing the success of The Horse Sale at Rancho Rio, the USTRC presents the inaugural Rope Horse Sale at the USTRC National Finals. The sale itself, which will be held on Friday, April 24, has certainly been designed to entertain, but the party actually kicks off the night prior with The Horse Sale Preview & Social, with live music to follow. If you’re looking for an event perfect for catching up with roping friends from far and wide, look no further.
• New Formats. On-site entries are offered and, unless otherwise noted, will cost $300. To pre-enter, do so by April 1 to take advantage of Key Card savings and retroactive USTRC earnings to April 2019. (Entry forms are in this issue and at USTRC.com.)
The Schedule (Live streaming on ridepass.com)
Stay tuned for the new schedule for September 7 through September 14.
The Stockyards National Historic District
Just 15 minutes north from the John Justin Arena and the Will Rogers Memorial Center, where the 2020 Cinch USTRC National Finals will be held, lies Fort Worth’s Stockyards National Historic District, a.k.a. Cowtown. When Fort Worth decided to make itself a railroad town, its stockyards were developed and soon became the hub of the city’s community and commerce. To illustrate, at its peak in 1944, more than 5.2 million head of livestock were processed at the stockyards.
With changes in the markets, infrastructure and technology, business on “The Wall Street of The West” dwindled drastically for the Stockyards until the North Fort Worth Historical Society made a mission of preserving and promoting Cowtown’s legacy and transforming the nearly defunct stockyards into the top Texas travel destination it is today.
In Fort Worth, the only challenge to figuring out where to eat is narrowing down all the choices. Here’s a few options to get you going.
• Cattlemen’s Steakhouse
Iconic cowboy dining done right.
• Lonesome Dove Western Bistro
Channel your inner Gus and class it up with a fine, cowboy dining experience.
• Hunter Brothers’ H3 Ranch
Home of the Famous HS Ranch Ribs.
• Stockyards Station
Dine while you shop, shop while you dine. Stockyards Station has it all.
It’s alive and well and completely accessible in Fort Worth. Don’t miss out.
• Cattle Drives
Twice daily on East Exchange Avenue.
• Stockyards Museum
Where the rich history of Fort Worth’s Stockyards lives on.
• Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame
Pay homage to Lari Dee Guy and the Priefert family, both valued members of our team roping community, who kicked off 2020 with inductions into these hallowed halls of Texas cowboy history.
• Cowtown Coliseum
Take a tour through the Coliseum Hall, the William “Bill” Pickett Museum, the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Bull Rider’s Hall of Fame. The Stockyards Championship Rodeo happens each Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays, you can catch the reenactment of Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show at 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. cowtowncoliseum.org
Honky Tonk Heaven
Nightlife in Cowtown is the real deal. Pack your best leather-soled boots (or find a pair in Fort Worth!) and hit these storied dance floors. Best to keep an eye on the marquee for any number of country music greats who might be rolling through town and putting on a show, too.
• Billy Bob’s Texas
• White Elephant Saloon
• Rodeo Exchange
Fort Worth offers a Texas-sized opportunity to shop from legendary Western retailers.
• Cavender’s Stock Yards
• M.L. Leddy’s
• Maverick Fine Western Wear
• Fincher’s White Front Western Wear
Literally, thousands of rooms are available within a five-mile radius of the Will Rogers Memorial Center, but a tip of the hat to the Stockyards Hotel, a brick three-story Stockyards staple since 1907, is much deserved. Plus, its themed rooms and suites offer a convenient base from which to explore the many restaurants and attractions nearby.
Beyond the Stockyards
Between the National Finals over at the Will Rogers Memorial Center and everything the Stockyards National Historic District offers, the to-do plate fills up pretty fast in Fort Worth but, if you find the time, here are a few additional cowboy attractions that are worth your while.
Will Rogers Memorial Center Area
• National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame cowgirl.net
• Cattle Raisers Museum at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
• Amon Carter Museum of American Art cartermusem.org
Downtown Fort Worth
• Sid Richardson Museum