Stock Show to discontinue live rodeo band

The 20-piece live rodeo band that accompanied riders, horses and livestock at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo has played its last roundup.

The band was informed last week that the show will go on with pre-recorded music. In what Fort Worth Stock & Rodeo officials characterized as a “tough decision,” said the live music will be discontinued beginning with the 2017 show.

In the Summer Stock Show newsletter, Stock Show President and General Manager Brad Barns said, “This wasn’t a decision we made lightly. The orchestra has been around for many years, but the use of digital music gives us greater flexibility to utilize video and other tools to create exciting experiences and features.”

In a Facebook post dated July 15, band leader Rick Stitzel confirmed the band was told they would not be used in the 2017 edition of the show.

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Stitzel’s son, Rich Stitzel, who played drums in the band, posted: “Very surreal right now to know that come January, people will be paying their ticket price, many in anticipation of hearing the traditional old marches, gallops, fanfares, and overtures played by a live 20-piece orchestra, but instead will now be hearing heavy metal & bro-country from a laptop.”

The 2017 Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo will run Jan. 13 to Feb. 4.