Chris Van Horne, NBC 5 Fort Worth Reporter
The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo opens its doors to visitors on Friday and organizers hope more than a million people visit this year like they did in 2012.
The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo will open its doors for the 117th year on Friday at the Will Rogers Memorial Center Complex. On Wednesday, most of the last-minute preparations were wrapping up as everyone is anticipating another 23-day run of fun for the whole family.
More than a million people visited the stock show last year and organizers would like to see those kinds of numbers again.
The hub of activity on Wednesday was in the commercial exhibits hall where vendors were busy setting up booths and putting up their products. The show is more than just livestock and rodeos, but features four acres of shopping too. On opening day, the rodeo and shopping are feature events as livestock won't start arriving until then.
At the Burnett Building, barns were starting to fill-up though as horses arrived for the weekend's Best in the West Ranch Show.
"Just in the saddle horse barn alone, we'll have 73 saddle horses it takes to produce the rodeo," said Paul Riggs of Rafter G Rodeo. "Everything from the opening, the pivot sets, the pick-up horses, the dignitaries, we'll have all that in this barn right here."
Riggs is one of hundreds of people at the stock show who will be working. Rafter G Rodeo, from Terrell, has been running the rodeo for more than 25 years and it's a job that Riggs says is a lot of work and a lot of fun.
"We're truly fortunate to have a job that we enjoy," Riggs said.
Empty cattle barns will soon be filled with 30,000 plus livestock that will come and go. The livestock will be shown by adults and children alike. And everything from restaurant tables to the attractions are ready to go for the big day.
"We do it pretty fast," said John Ward of Hatter's.
The commercial exhibit floor was the where Ward spent his Wednesday readying his stock for the big stock show and for all the fun.
"Fun? No," Ward chuckled. "It's fun to see all the people, good to see all the other vendors, all the customers."
But Ward says his time here is all about business.
"This is business that's right," Ward said.
Ward and Riggs hope business is good and that the streets and skies stay clear.
"I'm going to leave it to you guys, the media and weather people to keep the snow away from us," Riggs said. "We love the sunshine for stock show."
The weather is huge factor when it comes to attendance. Last year, more than a million people visited the stock show and retailers say that Super Bowl week where ice and snow limited attendance is something they don't want to see again.
The Stock Show and Rodeo runs from Jan. 18 to Feb. 9. NBC 5 is a proud sponsor. For more information click here.