My Big Day At The Fort Worth Fat Stock Show


The legendary Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo ended today. Once again, we didn’t make it to the grand celebration of Texas. Dallas, that eastern wannabe city, has the State Fair, but we have the stock show and the best damn rodeo in the nation. I’ve been going there since I was a small child, and my sister did the same. Since it’s always been in February, we never knew what the weather would be; sunny and warm or an ice storm like last week here in Texas.

Back in the 1950s, the western swing band, my father played fiddle with opened the Stock Show every year with a breakfast concert in one of the exposition barns. The famous Light Crust Doughboys were about to be on the air. They were and are a legend in Texas and country music. I was just a kid along for the ride and didn’t realize how good that ride was.

My father had bought me a fringed leather jacket, a pearl Roy Rogers cowboy hat, and a new pair of Justin boots from the outlet store next door to the Dickies factory. These new duds were just for the show that year. I think it was 1955 or 56, and I was as puffed up as a poisoned pup, and everything on me shined like a new dime. I wore my grandfather’s Bollo string tie with the silver state of Texas clasp and saw my smiling reflection in my polished boots. I was a kid to be reckoned with.

The band was set up on a low stage with a small split rail fence separating them from the onlookers. The local television station, WBAP, was there for a live broadcast that morning. They always put on a big deal for the first day. The news lady thought I looked like a little buckaroo and asked my father if I could sit on the fence next to her while she did her opening broadcast, which would be shown all over Fort Worth, Dallas, and points west and east. In those days, it was a big deal to be on television, and here I was, a kid getting ready to be famous. I knew some of my classmates would recognize me. My head growing too fat for my hat by the minute.

The nice TV lady helped me climb onto the fence, scootched me over a bit closer to her, and the broadcast started. It was my first brush with fame and live television, and I stared at the camera like a deer in headlights. She asked me a few questions, which I don’t remember, and I answered with a croak and a whimper, then fell backward from the fence onto the dirt floor. I got up, all covered in a mixture of fifty-year-old dirt and manure. The new cowboy hat was all bent in, and my fringed jacket was all whacky and filthy, so I dejectedly walked over behind the bandstand and started to cry. I had ruined my one chance at being a television personality. Mortified would be a good description, then maybe add humiliation to that, and you would have the gest of it.

After the Doughboys started playing, the nice TV lady came over with a coke and a hot dog, gave me a mother-type hug, and said I did just fine. That made it all better.

14 Replies to “My Big Day At The Fort Worth Fat Stock Show”

  1. I always wanted a fringed jacket but suede not leather I think, never got around to getting one but I’ve been thinking lately about getting one before I croak; suede or leather?

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  2. Somewhere in the dusty bins of a televison station…that piece of film may be there somewhere. I couldn’t help myself Phil…I did a quick search on youtube and they do show some of the 55 and 56 parade that happened. Great story Phil.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if they taped it, you would think so. those old parades were great back then. I will also so some searching to see if its around. The Stock Show parade is still a big deal. It was cancelled last year because of weather but was held again this year.

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    2. Looking at that old film, it was mostly horses and riders with wagons. Later on, it was floats other nonsense. The old ones seem to capture the American west attitude of Fort Worth. Thanks for finding that old film.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, here in Texas, Taylor is “the man” when it comes to showing the world what we are about. I don’t watch Yellowstone much, but I did watch 1883, Tulsa King and am watching 1923, which is the continuation of 1883 when the boys grows up and runs the ranch with his uncle, who is Harrison Ford. If you like Texas, and westerns, you will love this show on Paramount Plus.

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