Fort Worth's Will Rogers Memorial Complex is busy hosting the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo until February 8. The rest of the year it hosts nearly 40 other major horse and cattle shows, but it'll also host some construction after the stock show wraps up.
The stock show brings plenty of foot and hoof traffic to the grounds of one of the premier equestrian centers in the nation. To be the best though, the City of Fort Worth feels it must invest. This week the city council approved a $4.7 million expansion project.
The city will build a new multi-purpose pavilion to host numerous kinds of shows. The pavilion will be larger than the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum arena floor and can be fitted to whatever a show may need.
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"Also during those inclement weather days those $100,000 horses that are in town will have a place to exercise and prepare for performance outside of the elements," said Kirk Slaughter, director of public events for the city.
If expansion sounds familiar, it should though. The city opened up a new Equestrian Multi-Purpose Building about a year and a half ago. In order to add and keep shows, you have to keep up with the Oklahomas, so to speak.
"Competition is stiff, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Las Vegas, and some other facilities around the country, we're all going after that good piece of business in the horse show world," Slaughter said.
For those who show horses and cattle across the country, good facilities do matter.
"It certainly makes life more comfortable to come and enjoy better facilities," said Bobby Singleton, who's from Tennessee showing Hereford cattle at the stock show.
The more shows and people using the facilities means more money for the economy.
"There's about a billion-six in visitor spending in Fort Worth every year and a big part of that comes through the Will Rogers Complex and the convention center," Slaughter said.
Construction will start in March and take about seven to eight months.
The city has more expansion plans in the works for several cattle barns, but that's another year away.