Fort Worth’s economy and surrounding communities will miss out on more than $110.2 million due to the cancellation of the 2021 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, according to a newly released city report.
The latest estimate from the city’s Public Events Department was presented to city council members this week during a work session. The show’s executive committee announced in October the unanimous decision to cancel the 2021 event due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Michael Crum, director of Fort Worth’s Public Events Department, said Tuesday their department has been in a “running conversation” with organizers and officials on what the future of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo will look like.
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“At the moment, we have to wait and see how events play out over the next few months,” Crum said. “But I can tell you as an organization, the Stock Show and Rodeo is very anxious to get back to business.”
According to Crum’s report, the estimated economic impact on Fort Worth and surrounding community economies is $110,263,848. The Will Rogers Memorial Center will lose approximately $630,000.
Another significant hit is to the hotel industry. Typically generating 30,686 hotel room nights, the hotel occupancy tax is estimated to be down more than $500,000.
The figures are based on a 2017 Economic Impact Study by Highland Market Research, LLC, according to Crum’s report.
During the discussion Tuesday, District 4 councilmember Cary Moon questioned the reasoning behind the cancellation considering other rodeo events were still scheduled around Tarrant County, pointing to the Professional Bull Riders in Arlington coming up this weekend and the National Finals Rodeo in December.
“Is it logistics? What are the concerns?" questioned Moon.
Crum said both PBR and NFR were concentrated on the sport of rodeo, whereas the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo was a ‘community fixture’ rather than just a rodeo.
“The executive committee of the Stock Show and Rodeo takes its responsibility of citizens of our community very seriously,” he said. “When they looked at how they gathered crowds of people together in very limited spaces, not necessarily on the rodeo side but on the stock show side, they felt the responsibility to cancel this this year. Let the pandemic run its course and then come back in 2022.”
According to the department’s report, the impact of the loss will be incorporated into an upcoming FY2021 Culture and Tourism Funds Budget Amendment.
In an email Wednesday to NBC 5, Crum said staffing within the Public Events Department is currently at 103 between the facilities with the majority at Will Rogers due to event load at the Convention Center.
"14 positions are vacant and 18 Convention Center staff [are] on loan to other city departments," Crum's wrote in an email. "At this time, additional furloughs are not anticipated. However, due to the uncertainty of the recovery and vaccine, layoffs cannot be ruled out in the future."
Matt Brockman with the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo said while the decision was difficult to make last month, they felt that was the right one given the current surge in cases.
They already have the 2022 event on their radar and even the years beyond that.
"Rodeo is always going to be a mainstay. Stock shows, live stock shows, 4-H, FFA exhibitors, and carnivals," Brockman said. "But then adding those new features like our Cowboys of Color Rodeo, the Best of Mexico celebration which celebrates the diversity of this region, the contributions of all ethnicities have added to ranching and the live stock industry."
The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo has been operating for 124 years, Brockman said. This is the first time that the show has been canceled since 1943.