My work at MSA/Dun and Bradstreet Software/Geac took me to Dallas, Texas several times and I always made time to drive the hour, or so, to Fort Worth to visit the Stockyards. The arrival of railroads in 1876 made this are an important livestock center.
On January 19, 1890 the Fort Worth Union Stockyards opened on 206 acres. In February the Fort Worth Dressed Meat and Packing Company was founded. The company operated without a profit until G. W. Simpson of Boston purchased it.
Soon Swift and Armour companies established packing houses on the premises. The Stock Yard became incorporated on March 23, 1893. By 1907 they were selling a million head of cattle per year.
The Stockyards were now a organized place where cattle, sheep, and hogs could be bought, sold and slaughtered. This remained a great profit maker until the 1950’s when livestock actions started popping up closer to where they were being raised.
The Stockyards were listed on the National Register as a historical district in 1976. Now it is an historic site and shopping, drinking, eating, dancing location. The General Store is on the corner of West Exchange Avenue and Main Street and a great place to pick up souvenirs.
The world’s only year round rodeo every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30pm in the historic Fort Worth Cowtown Coliseum which features bull riding, tie down roping, team roping, barrel racing, bronc riding and break away roping.
Billy Bob Barnett, a Texas A&M University graduate and professional football player, teamed up with nightclub owner and former car salesman, Spencer Taylor and decided on the 100,000 square foot abandoned one-time open air cattle barn for their club.
Billy Bob’s opened April 1, 1981 and is known as “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk”. They have food, drink, mechanical bull riding, darts, billiards, BBQ, Mexican food and mostly country music.
Many artists have performed here including Bob Hope, B.B. King, Lynn Anderson, Roy Clark, Charlie Daniels Band, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker to name a few. Billy Bob’s Texas has also been host to many movie and television projects.
Baja Oklahoma (Willie Nelson, Susan Sarandon), Over the Top (Sylvester Stallone), and Necessary Roughness (Scott Bakula, Sinbad) have all been filmed there. There is good food there and all around the stockyard.
Cattlemen’s Steak House and H3 Ranch are great steakhouses, you won’t be disappointed. In Mule Alley you’ll find The Biscuit Bar where everything is served on big, flaky, buttery biscuits. Twice a day 11:30am and 4pm real cowboys drive cattle through the streets.
On Saturday’s and Sunday’s, following the cattle drive there is an old west shootout in the streets. There is also a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. Drinks and bar food are available at The Cantina Cadillac, White Elephant Saloon and Booger Red’s.
There is the Cowtown Winery and the winery offers a 90-minute walking ghost tour through the Stockyards on Friday and Saturday nights. There are horse carriage rides, Mini train rides (for the kids), Grapevine vintage railroad, Stockyard museum, petting corral and the Texas Trail of Fame.
This is a fun place and has 14 Restaurants, 13 Bars, 35 Shops and over 17 must-see attractions, all surrounded by the rich history of the Fort Worth Stockyards.