The president of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo announced his retirement on Wednesday.
W.R. "Bob" Watt Jr. became secretary and general manager of the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in 1973. He took over as president and general manager in 1978. Since 2007, Watt served as the general manager of the annual event.
Under Watt's leadership, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo experienced record growth. The show expanded from 12 to 24 days. Livestock entries have increased by more than 50 percent; from 14,560 animals shown in 1978 to more than 22,000 animals in 2010.
The number of livestock auctions has grown from seven to 17, with sales receipts increasing more than sixfold from $744,000 to more than $5 million. In 1978, the Grand Champion Steer sold for $16,000 and in 2010 the Grand Champion Steer sold for a record $210,000.
The Stock Show currently hosts nearly 1 million visitors each year, up from 610,000 in 1978.
Watt is a native of Fort Worth. He grew up at the Stock Show under the guidance of his father, the late W.R. Watt Sr., who was president of the show from 1946 until his death in 1977.
“Bob’s leadership skills along with his passion for the Stock Show and the city of Fort Worth have left a legacy for future leaders of the show," said Stock Show Chairman Edward P. Bass. "His contributions will help guide the organization to continued success. He is a true friend of the city, of agriculture and rodeo, and of mine.”
Bradford S. Barnes takes over as the new president and general manager of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.