Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District

The Coliseum for the stockyards, pictured above, was the place where stock shows went on annually for 34 years. The last one was held in 1936. It was also the birthplace for indoor rodeos to be held; they are still continuing today, year around, in the Coliseum. Over the years the arena has been the site for many cultural, religious and civic events. President T. Roosevelt spoke here in 1911 and Enrico Caruso sang in the Coliseum in 1920.  Billy Bobs, the world's largest honky tonk hall, is connected to the Coliseum. It was once a cattle barn. We toured the stockyards where very little is happening any more. The city of Fort Worth keep a few longhorn cattle around for educational purposes and hold a cattle drive daily for tourist entertainment. We were able to observe a drive while we were there.  I was expecting some kind of  rip-roaring action of rushing horses and cattle bawling but the only noise was that of the cowbells tinkling and the sound of the lead cowboy's voice constantly  talking to the cattle. He spoke to them in a loud  soothing voice, repeatedly encouraging them to keep moving.  A  very tame cattle drive, I must admit.
On the wall of a building in the historic district is a diagram of a cattle drive. It depicts where the cowboys are positioned during the drive with the chuck wagon leading the way.  If you are interested in more of the details you will need to enlarge the picture to read the captions. I found that poster fascinating.
We toured the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, which is also in the historic district of Fort Worth. What I found most interesting there is a wagon collection which features more than 60 antique buggies, carriages, carts and wagons. There were wagons and carts for hauling everything from gas to produce to diary products and laundry (to mention only few). Until I saw this awesome collection of wagons today I never had given much thought as to how we transported our goods before trucks and cars came into the scene! While touring the museum we discovered that the actor Tommy Lee Jones was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2009  for his accomplishments as a horseman (plays polo) and rancher. Below is a picture of the first steer wrestler, W.Pickett (1870-1920).

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