The 2021 Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo has been canceled.
The executive committee of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (FWSSR) voted unanimously on Thursday, Oct. 8, to cancel the 2021 Show scheduled for Jan. 15 through Feb. 6, according to a news release from the show.
“This is a heartbreaking decision for our leadership and was not made lightly,” said Stock Show President and General Manager Brad Barnes in a news release. “We wanted to find a way to safely hold a show for our 1.2 million guests, exhibitors and competitors. Unfortunately, the challenges we face to create practical and enforceable protocols and procedures to comply with COVID-19 guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are extremely daunting. The uncertainty of the virus potential spread across Texas and the nation during the upcoming flu season was another major factor weighing on our decision.”
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price voiced support for the decision, noting that the FWSSR is a tradition “that holds a special place in Fort Worth history.”
“However, I am confident that the Board of Directors’ decision to cancel this year’s event was made in the best interest of all fans and participants,” she said. “The FWSSR attracts visitors from around the globe, and the Stock Show in particular does not allow for adequate social distancing. I appreciate the FWSSR Board’s leadership and look forward to making the 2022 event the best one yet.”
Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said he knows the decision was difficult.
“I talked to Brad this morning and I know how hard it was, but I mean, as he was relaying to me, they’ve got kids from, I guess, 200 counties within the state of Texas. And probably, I think he said something like 40 different countries. And so I know it’s hard.”
According to a 2015 study, nearly 1.25 million Stock Show & Rodeo visitors (several thousand for multiple days) spent an average of $50 a day – a total of about $62.4 million –contributing $1.77 million in Fort Worth sales and hotel taxes and $5.54 million in Texas sales taxes. And, according to the report by Grotta Marketing Research of Fort Worth, as well as related surveys and analysis (all commissioned by the Stock Show) three out of four visitors came from outside of Fort Worth.
The economic impact associated with the 2015 Stock Show & Rodeo, the report stated, exceeded $88.6 million in annual spending by visitors, participants and the nonprofit corporation itself.
“This is a setback for our community, fans and all who would participate. FWSSR events go far beyond rodeo performance and competition,” said Bob Jameson, president and CEO of Visit Fort Worth, in a statement. “For example, more than 11,000 youth from across Texas participate through exhibitions during the show’s 23-day run.
“While many events cannot take place during this difficult time, our organization continues working with our community and customers to find a way forward where safe gatherings are possible,” he said.
“More than 30,000 animals are typically exhibited in 3,770 classes for horses, livestock, poultry, rabbits and ag mechanics in addition to approximately 2,300 participants in the art contest, judging contests, rodeos and many other competitions and exhibitions,” the Stock Show said in its news release. “Each event and competition – from the FWSSR PRORODEO Tournament to the Youth Poultry Show, Carnival Midway and all others – represents what’s unique and important for every participant and guest. Consequently, the decision was made to cancel all FWSSR events and features as opposed to allowing some to be held at the expense of others.”
“Daily Stock Show attendance can exceed 140,000 people that crowd into buildings at the Will Rogers Memorial Center to see livestock, shop, dine, enjoy the carnival-midway and petting zoo as well as watch the many shows and competitions,” the release said. “Each year exhibitors typically travel from approximately 235 of Texas’ 254 counties and 40 states filling the various barns where they work in close proximity preparing their animals for exhibition. Consultations with infectious disease and public health professionals indicate the Stock Show would rank as a ‘very high risk’ for spread of COVID-19, potentially impacting populations and healthcare systems.”
“The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja. “We support the Stock Show’s executive committee in making this difficult decision.”
The only other time a Stock Show was canceled was in 1943, near the height of World War II.
“Today we’re in another war with an enemy that’s invisible and quite deadly,” said Barnes. “We feel a responsibility to be proactive, in order that COVID-19 is brought under control sooner rather than later. For fans of Fort Worth’s oldest and largest public event, our common goal is to help bring the pandemic to an end so future Stock Shows won’t be in jeopardy.”
In a video posted on the FWSSR website, Barnes said: “We’ll see you in 2022 for what will be the best Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo ever. Thank you for your support. And remember, this thing is legendary. God bless America.”
This year, in March, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was canceled after it had started, just as the coronavirus began making an impact. According to a study commissioned by Rodeo Houston, the economic impact of that show was $227 million annually.
2020 Show Stats
30,000 animals entered
12,567 junior (4-H and FFA Youth) livestock entries Total 2020 Livestock Auction receipts $8,833,965 (17 Auctions) Jr. Sale of Champions (4-H and FFA Youth Auction) $4.7 million Scholarships paid in 2020 – $733,000
Economic Impact Numbers (using a conservative multiplier of 2)
Total Expenditures – $177,264,614
Local Taxes generated – $3,545,292
State Taxes generated – $11,079,038
Total Taxes generated – $14,624,331