Fort Worth

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo Celebrates 35th Annual Fiesta Night

The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is underway, and organizers are trying to attract a more diverse audience.

Friday night was the 35th annual Fiesta Night, hosted by the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and party-goers celebrated a heritage that's as much about the city's future as its past.

"Cowboy, vaquero, that's in our blood. Whether you're Anglo or Hispanic, that's kind of the common ground," said John Hernandez, president and CEO of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Abel Sanchez is a past president and one of the Fiesta Night founders. He was also the first Hispanic executive banker in Fort Worth. But despite blazing the trail, he thinks it's harder for young Hispanics entering the workforce today.

"The politics today have made it a little harder for professionals," Sanchez said.

New business owner Daniel Castaneda agrees there are still challenges.

"Once it comes to finance, private equity, real estate and some of those offices downtown, there's definitely a huge lack of diversity there and high barrier to entry," Castaneda said.

There is no question where Fort Worth is headed. The Latino population is growing faster than an auctioneer can count.

"Sixty-three percent of our students are of Hispanic origin," said Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner, who attended Fiesta Night. "The majority of those students come from homes where Spanish is the primary language."

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price added, "It's critical that they get great educations and be moved into the workforce and into society."

The city's future is counting on it.

The stock show added a Hispanic Advisory Committee 10 years ago. It also has a Best of Mexico celebration that's always the first rodeo to sell out, and last year started a new Dia de la Familia, which is coming up on Sunday.

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