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Stock Show Insider: Before the show begins

The 121st Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo officially begins its 23-day run Friday. However, activities are underway in the early part of this week that are a noticeable part of the Stock Show. One standout event is the Chisholm Challenge, a horse show for riders with disabilities. The three-day competition runs through Wednesday at John Justin Arena. The riders’ ages range from 2 to in their 60s.

Dwayne Wheeler, the show’s president, said it’s very meaningful to the riders to compete at Cowtown’s renowned traditional Stock Show.

“It’s the Fort Worth Stock Show, which is the greatest show on earth,” Wheeler said. “Most of our riders don’t have the ability or opportunity to compete in basketball, baseball and football, but they get to compete at a horse show at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. It’s special that they get to compete at the Stock Show and in such a wonderful venue.”

The 14th annual Chisholm Challenge is billed as the world’s largest show for riders with disabilities that’s sanctioned by the American Quarter Horse Association.

Dwayne Lovell, who has served as the announcer for all 14 editions, said the show began after officials approached then Stock Show general manager Bob Watt in the early 2000s.

“A lady named Cheril Becker approached Mr. Watt and [Stock Show official] Bruce McCarty and told them she had an idea to hold a show for riders with disabilities,” Lovell said. “Mr. Watt and Bruce said they would give it a shot. If it worked out, then there may be future shows. If not, no foul, no harm. This is the 14th show because it did work out.”

–Brett Hoffman

www.chisholmchallenge.com/

Brett Hoffman has covered rodeos and stock shows for more than three decades. He will be writing from the 2017 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo for the Fort Worth Business Press.

Contact Hoffman at bchoffman777@earthlink.net.

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