Final show wraps up at Coliseum

By Brett Hoffman | Published Wednesday, February 6, 2019
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The Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo is making its last ride in the storied Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

Next year, rodeo performances move to the new and larger Dickies Arena.

Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum opened in 1936 and the rodeo moved to the venue in 1944. Performances had been conducted in the Fort Worth Stockyards’ Cowtown Coliseum since 1918.

“We’re just as proud of the Coliseum today as I know they were in 1944 when we moved here from the Northside,” said Stock Show president and general manager Brad Barnes. “Probably more great rodeo memories have come from this building than any other in the sport.”

Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum could be billed as the rodeo equivalent to New York’s old Yankee Stadium, Boston’s Fenway Park or Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

“It’s comparable to Wrigley Field, it’s historic,” said Fort Worth Rodeo senior livestock producer Jim Gay said. “Every time I go there, it’s like the hair stands up on the back of my neck because all of the people who have competed there.”

Legendary competitors such as Jim Shoulders (1950s), Larry Mahan (late 1960s and early 1970s), Tom Ferguson (late 1970s), Ty Murray (late 1980s and 1990s) and Decatur’s Trevor Brazile (2000s and 2010s), have ridden in the coliseum in front of the signature white bucking chutes, each with a large red diamond emblem, and the red, white and blue awning that circles the arena above the box seats.

There’s been tons of sentiment among fans and competitors this year about the Stock Show’s last year to conduct its array of rodeos in Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.

“It’s easy to look forward to new stuff, especially when [Dickies Arena] is going to be such an amazing building,” Brazile said. “However, there are certain memories that are associated with the Fort Worth Stock Show and Will Rogers Coliseum. But I guess there’s a lifetime for everything.”

Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum can seat more than 5,700 spectators for the 2019 Stock Show, which runs through Saturday. Dickies Arena will seat 9,300.

The Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum will undergo renovations to enable the Stock Show to feature additional shows, said Kirk Slaughter, Fort Worth’s director of public events. Other organizations such as the National Cutting Horse Association plan to continue to utilize the coliseum.

One reason for the overwhelming nostalgia about the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum is because numerous rodeo fans have attended Stock Show Rodeo performances in the venue for years.

“I’ve been going to see rodeo at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum for seven decades and I have sat in the same seat ever since I sat in my mother’s lap,” said Ed Bass, the Stock Show Rodeo’s board chairman. “This is a year to really celebrate the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum. It’s our grand old coliseum that has served beautifully for all of these decades.”

Bob Tallman of Poolville, the Stock Show Rodeo’s longtime announcer, said he’ll miss the distinct aroma of the old coliseum.

“I’m going to miss the smell,” Tallman said. “It’s the smell of that old building, the dirt, the food vendors and so on. It’s a good smell. The new arena is going to have to get seeded in order to have that. But when you go to a new home, you get a different pleasure.”


On the Professional Bull Riders circuit, Oklahoma cowboy Ryan Dirteater clinched the title at last weekend’s Unleash The Beast tour stop in Oklahoma City and earned $39,361. He is ranked fifth in the world title race with 835 points.

Luciano De Castro, a Brazilian who lives in Decatur, finished second and earned $17,086. He’s ranked sixth in the world standings with 772.5 points.

PBR 2017 world champion Jess Lockwood finished third at the Oklahoma City show and pocketed $14,211. He’s ranked No. 1 with 2,097.5.

The PBR will conduct a major show this weekend at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The show is an international team competition called the Global Cup.

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