The executive committee of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (FWSSR) voted unanimously yesterday to cancel the 2021 Show scheduled for January 15 through February 6.
“This is a heartbreaking decision for our leadership and was not made lightly,” said Stock Show President and General Manager, Brad Barnes. “We wanted to find a way to safely hold a Show for our 1.2 million guests, exhibitors and competitors. Unfortunately, the challenges we face to create practical and enforceable protocols and procedures to comply with COVID-19 guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are extremely daunting. The uncertainty of the virus potential spread across Texas and the nation during the upcoming flu season was another major factor weighing on our decision.”
More than 30,000 animals are typically exhibited in 3,770 classes for horses, livestock, poultry, rabbits and ag mechanics in addition to approximately 2,300 participants in the art contest, judging contests, rodeos and many other competitions and exhibitions. Each event and competition – from the FWSSR PRORODEO Tournament to the Youth Poultry Show, Carnival Midway and all others – represents what’s unique and important for every participant and guest. Consequently, the decision was made to cancel all FWSSR events and features as opposed to allowing some to be held at the expense of others.
Daily Stock Show attendance can exceed 140,000 people that crowd into buildings at the Will Rogers Memorial Center to see livestock, shop, dine, enjoy the carnival-midway and petting zoo as well as watch the many shows and competitions. Each year exhibitors typically travel from approximately 235 of Texas’ 254 counties and 40 states filling the various barns where they work in close proximity preparing their animals for exhibition. Consultations with infectious disease and public health professionals indicate the Stock Show would rank as a “very high risk” for spread of COVID-19, potentially impacting populations and healthcare systems.
“The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance,” said Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja. “We support the Stock Show’s executive committee in making this difficult decision.”
The only other time a Stock Show was cancelled was 1943 near the height of World War II.
“Today we’re in another war with an enemy that’s invisible and quite deadly,” said Barnes. “We feel a responsibility to be proactive, in order that COVID-19 is brought under control sooner rather than later. For fans of Fort Worth’s oldest and largest public event, our common goal is to help bring the pandemic to an end so future Stock Shows won’t be in jeopardy.”