Tie on your feed-bag, it’s time to rodeo

Chicken-fried steak

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

Jan. 15- Feb. 6


When you go to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo this year, rest assured that you will not go hungry. Steve Coburn, vice president and owner of Coburn’s Catering, will see to that.

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The phrase “not his first rodeo,” certainly applies to Coburn’s, which has been handling the contracting of all Stock Show food service since 1946. The family-owned and -operated barbecue and catering enterprise was started by Steve’s grandfather, Otha T. Coburn, who taught it to his sons Gary and Jerrell. Both grew up hawking popcorn and peanuts in Will Rogers Coliseum.

Jerrell and his wife, Pat, likewise, gave their son Steve and daughter Cathy the same behind-the-scenes education when they were young, and now a fourth generation is learning the ropes as well. “It is nice to have my kids in the business now. It is a great way to learn about customer service first hand,” said Steve Coburn.

If you have attended any private parties at the rodeo, you have tasted Coburn’s famous barbeque for yourself. Coburn’s hosts many catered events throughout the Stock Show season and you can find its barbeque stands dotted around the grounds. “We are looking forward to this year’s rodeo, and know it will be even bigger and better than the year before,” he said.

This year’s lineup includes long-time concessions such as Mama’s Pizza, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Jakes Cakes – satisfying your annual funnel cake fix – and Steak on a Stake catering to the carnivorous cowboy. Wafting smells of roasting nuts coated with cinnamon and sugar will render you helpless to their charms at A Bunch of Nuts. Crown Cinnamon Rolls will take care of your carb cravings, while also offering loaded baked potatoes, and soup or chili in an edible bread bowl.

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Back again this year are Bobby’s Fajitas and the popular Texas Skillet filling and rolling cowboy-sized burritos on its six-foot skillet. Taste of New Orleans has Cajun red beans and rice or gumbo, and Fruteria will round out your meal with a healthy hand-carved mango or papaya bowl.

“There is something to suit any taste, from filet mignon to funnel cakes,” says Matt Brockman, publicity manager with the Stock Show. “People often make the mistake of expecting nothing but time-honored carnival foods that get your hands greasy, but there will also be healthy fruit drinks and updated fare to dine on. We are always striving to bring new and different offerings to showcase alongside classics like McKinney’s Corn Dogs. New this year, for instance, we have Steel City Pops on hand with their popular frozen treats, and homemade pretzels in the poultry barn.”

Each year, Reata restaurant brings its legendary Texas cuisine to the Stock Show at three different venues.

Reata hosts private, members-only events at the Backstage Club during the rodeo season. The Backstage Club, which overlooks the coliseum’s rodeo arena, has hosted celebrities, politicians and movie stars during its 50-year history. Highlights from the menu include calf fries served with cream gravy and a 12-ounce charbroiled buffalo ribeye. The club is open to members and their guests two hours before rodeo performances.

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Reata at the Rodeo has featured an on-site restaurant since 2002. Located in the Amon G. Carter Exhibits Hall, it transforms a standard meeting space into a full-service restaurant every year. Many Reata favorites are available for lunch and dinner. Choose from a selection such as elk sausage with jalapeno cheddar grits or slow-stewed carne asada topped with cheese enchiladas. Reservations are recommended.

La Espuela Mexican Cantina is a more casual affair, serving simple enchilada, tamale, burrito or taco dinners. Located in the Centennial room of the Charlie and Kit Moncrief Building, it is great stop for ranchers and visitors alike. “Many of the folks who are there to show livestock are on the grounds for days at a time, and you can only eat cotton candy and funnel cakes at the midway for so long,” said Reata’s general manager, Russell Kirkpatrick. “La Espuela is our fast-casual, counter-service dining that was created to meet that need for a sit-down meal at a more moderate price point.”

“Reata is now in our fifteenth year of partnership with the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo,” said Mike Micallef, president of Reata Restaurant. “What began in 2002 as a pop-up restaurant to promote our opening in Sundance Square later that spring has now become a longstanding tradition for our business.”