Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo organizers are busy working on plans for 2013, and fans may like a few of the changes announced so far.
Paid seating along the route for the All-Western Parade, the return of Whiplash -- the dog-riding monkey -- to entertain rodeo crowds, and more parking for exhibitors are just a few of the things in the works for the 117th season.
"Being 117 is a bit of a two-edged sword," said Brad Barnes, president and general manager of the FWSSR. "It's great for the tradition and heritage of Fort Worth, but complacency can step in. So, we gotta be focused on something new, something different and keep it exciting."
Barnes made the comments at a dinner organized for sponsors of the 2013 show. NBC 5 is one of them.
The theme of the 23-day show this year is "Bring It!"
"The thought behind 'Bring It!' is that it crosses multiple generations," said publicity manager Shanna Weaver. "It can mean bring your family. To junior exhibitors, it's bring your A-game. Bring your boots. It doesn't matter. This is Fort Worth, and we want you to bring it."
One of the biggest changes in 2013 will be reserved seating along the route of the All-Western Parade on Saturday, Jan. 19, 11a.m.
"For the first time, we will have reserved bleacher seats available. We'll have more than 900 seats," said Weaver. Keep in mind, though, 100,000 typically attend the parade that marks the start of the Fort Worth tradition.
Two thirds of the seats will be along Commerce Street, split between the Horton Tower and Wells Fargo Tower, and the other third will be on 9th Street in front of the Fort Worth Convention Center.
The $15 reserved ticket will also give access to the Stock Show grounds any day during the event.
The All-Western Parade also has a new route for 2013. Construction on the new plaza in Sundance Square will shift the route from Main Street to Commerce Street. From the Tarrant County Courthouse, it will travel south on Commerce Street to 9th Street, west on 9th Street to Houston Street, then north on Houston Street back to the courthouse.
Whiplash the Cowboy monkey who bounces around on the back of a border collie like he's a cowboy on a stallion returns to entertain rodeo crowds. Rodeo fans last saw the act in 2008.
"Every single time, Brad (Barnes, the GM) talks to the public, the number one question he gets from community groups is, 'When is Whiplash coming back?'", said Weaver. He'll be back for 30 performances in 2013.
A new app will let rodeo fans become "armchair judges," said Cal White, social/digital manager.
"Guests can score rides, predict times and get more interactive with the action and understand it a little bit better," White explained. The free app called "Score It" will be available to download closer to the start of the show.
"It's important to the show because it gives us a chance to engage our fans year round. We can maintain the relationships through the year and put some faces to the name," said White.
The realignment of Harley Avenue which runs along the side of the Will Rogers Memorial Complex will give room for a new street and new paved parking. Trail Drive is the new road that will run between University Drive and Montgomery Street. Paved parking will be available along Trail Drive. Barnes said during the Stock Show, livestock exhibitors and guests will have access to that extra parking space.
Tickets to the 2013 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo and the All-Western Parade go on sale Nov. 26 at www.fwssr.com.
NBC 5 is a proud media sponsor of this event.