The Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show and Rodeo (817/877-2400, www.fwstockshowrodeo.com) is one of the largest events of its kind in Texas. Dating to 1896, this annual 17-day event in January is highlighted by an “all-Western” parade (no motor vehicles allowed) through downtown. Other events include nightly rodeos, cowboy competitions, commercial exhibits, and auctions; most events take place at the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum.
Held each February, The Last Great Gunfight (817/624-8273) is about as Wild West as it gets. In 1887, Luke Short, owner of the White Elephant Saloon, outdrew ex–Fort Worth marshall Jim “Longhair” Courtright on the street in front of the saloon. Deemed the town’s last significant duel of its kind, the event is reenacted annually in front of the White Elephant.
Mayfest (817/332-1055, www.mayfest.org), which actually begins in late April, is Fort Worth’s annual celebration of spring complete with arts, crafts, live music, sporting events, and food at Trinity Park near the Cultural District.
The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition (817/738-6536, www.cliburn.org) celebrates Fort Worth native Van Cliburn’s victory at the first Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow in 1958. First held in 1962 and repeated every four years since, the Van Cliburn competition is considered one of the world’s most prestigious classical piano contests.
Fort Worth’s Juneteenth Celebration (214/353-4445), like others throughout the Lone Star State, celebrates the June 19, 1865 announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation, belatedly resulting in the freeing of 250,000 slaves in Texas. Fort Worth’s] annual event features day-long activities including a downtown parade along with hundreds of vendors lining the streets as well as cultural activities, carnival rides, and live music.
The city’s Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering and Western Swing Festival (800/433-5747, www.redsteagallcowboygathering.com) features three days of cowboy poetry, rodeos, campfire songs, children’s events, and a chuck wagon competition, all named for the venerable country and western entertainer.
The National Cutting Horse Association (817/244-6188, www.nchacutting.com) hosts an annual event where sports, music, and media icons ride horseback at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum, followed by an after-party concert, dinner, and silent auction.
© Andy Rhodes from Moon Texas, 6th Edition