It’s a big job to prepare for Fort Worth’s biggest event of the year, but dedicated supporters like Paul Riggs say it’s a job they’re glad to do for this event.
The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo kicked off Friday to begin the event’s 23 day run for 2017.
Riggs, like many of the behind the scenes workers, began planning for this year’s show almost immediately after 2016’s came to a close.
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Working behind the scenes at the rodeo since 1971, his job is to ensure the backstage workings of the 36 performances this year go off without a hitch.
Every horse has to be in place and groomed, every rider has to have their own personal equipment ready and every inch of the arena needs to look just right so the animals don’t get spooked.
"I've got 64 free thinking animals in this barn,” said Riggs.
He said in all of his years at the show though, he’s learned that there is no room to let any issues get in the way.
"There's 6,000 people in those grandstands that paid for a ticket that they're going to get a show.”
Across the Stock Show grounds, final preparations went into place as crowds began to slowly pour in Friday afternoon.
The event really gets its start Saturday morning with the annual Stock Show Parade through Fort Worth.
"This is a big deal,” said Stock Show spokesman Matt Brockman. “People come from near and far. They want to experience the heritage, and the people who are local want to make a connection to the mystique of our identity as citizens of Cowtown."
The event runs through the beginning of February.