The rodeo is a quintessential, stereotypical Texan activity—one that I'm not really going to pretend to understand. Fort Worth is actually built around the event, with the stockyards remaining a big part of the town's infrastructure. Countless films and books have been valentines to the lifestyle of the rodeo, as any Annie Proulx fan can attest. It's a balls to the wall event, with athletes putting life and limb at risk to battle 1,500-pound bulls in the pen, night after night. The bruises, abrasions and broken bones are battle scars that no NFL player can boast. A similar intensity runs through the other aspects of the event, including the livestock shows, where America's future agriculturalists show off the animals that they've spent years caring for. These are kids who get up at the crack of dawn to feed and groom cattle, sheep, llamas and poultry while other kids their age are out cruising the drag and sneaking cans of Pearl Light from the fridge. It's a lifestyle that's at once romantic and harsh, and really, really Texan. Plus, there are all manner of vendors for your ironic Western wear needs. The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo runs daily through February 3 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, 3400 Burnett Tandy Drive. Visit fwstockshowrodeo.com for ticket sales, a list of daily events, and more.
Jan. 11-Feb. 3, 2008
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