Chris Van Horne, Fort Worth Reporter
Construction is continuing on Will Rogers Memorial Stadium to expand and improve facilities for future editions of the Fort Worth Stock Show.
While the Fort Worth Stock Show prepares ribbons for its annual show and rodeo, construction crews continue to add onto the Will Rogers Memorial Center.
There is a little less than a month until the start of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo. Most of the work on the Will Rogers won't be done in time for the show, although that was expected.
"We anticipate construction to be complete on this project by the summer," said Kirk Slaughter, director of Public Events for the city of Fort Worth.
The expansion project started right after the conclusion of the 2011 Stock Show. Five years in the making, the improvements include two exercise arenas for horses, a tunnel expansion so animals don't have to walk through the elements and a small parking garage.
The features have already proven to be beneficial to the city with the addition of new equestrian events.
"We've already been able to bring the Reichart Celebration, which is a very large national horse show, as well as National Reining Horse Association Cowtown Classic, and we also have some proposal out to other major shows," Slaughter said.
While the $60 million expansion won't be ready for the major show that is the Fort Worth Stock Show, construction will stop for four days before the show opens on Jan. 13.
With fewer than 30 days until that date, organizers are spending most of their time dealing with paperwork. The physical work of setting up the show is still a few weeks away.
"We're sorting ribbons, finalizing entries, preparing for people to move in," stock show spokesman Shanna Weaver said. "We're looking forward to another great year."
But when the new equestrian center opens rest assured the stock show will take full advantage.
"It's a great opportunity for us," Weaver said. "It's the one thing -- if we had more space, we'd have more show. And that additional space down there will allow us to expand the show, maybe add a couple more classes. Extra parking is always appreciated out here."
And thankfully, parking is the one element of the project that will be ready -- at least partially -- by the time the Fort Worth Stock Show opens.
"We can park vehicles on the lower level during the stock show," Slaughter said.
Construction will resume once the show is over.
The Southwest Exposition and Rodeo, best known as the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, runs from Jan. 13 to Feb. 4.
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