Rex Benson, owner of Ol’ South Pancake House, always notices an uptick in orders for the restaurant’s signature German pancakes starting in mid-January.
“That means it’s stock show time,” said Benson, owner of the iconic Fort Worth restaurant at 1509 S. University Drive.
Benson hears the show attendees from out of town saying they can’t find those German pancakes from “wherever they’re from.” Also popular are the restaurant’s chicken-fried steaks, breakfast offerings and coffee. Lots of coffee, he said.
“The show runs on coffee,” he said.
The 24-hour, 61-year-old restaurant sees about a 10 to 15% increase in business during the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, Benson estimates.
“It used to be a bit more, but they now have more offerings at the show itself, so it’s a little less than it used to be,” he said. “But I’m glad to see it, and I know other local businesses are, too.”
The main traffic from the show tends to be early in the morning or late at night.
If you go
Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
When: Jan. 13 through Feb. 4
Where: Will Rogers Coliseum, Dickies Arena
What: The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo is the oldest continuously running livestock show and rodeo. It has been held annually in Fort Worth since 1896,
For more information: www.fwssr.com
“We get the people setting up the show and then people after the rodeo,” he said.
Ol’ South is hardly alone in seeing an increase in foot – or boot – traffic from one of the city’s oldest (1896) and signature events. According to research from Visit Fort Worth, about a third of visitors to the stock show’s average of a million visitors annually come from outside Fort Worth.
Visit Fort Worth’s research indicates that more fans are staying after rodeo performances either on the grounds (e.g., Roadhouse) or going to area restaurants instead of going straight home, Mitch Whitten, chief operating officer at Visit Fort Worth, said.
“That number has been increasing, a great sign of our entertainment options at the FWSSR and in Fort Worth,” he said.
The 125th show in 2022 brought in $115 million dollars in direct spending, attracting 1.2 million people, according to a report the stock show made to the Fort Worth City Council on May 17, 2022.
Visit Fort Worth’s research indicates that family fun is the No. 1 reason why in-state travelers select Fort Worth as the best destination, Whitten said. Fort Worth’s value as a family-friendly destination has grown steadily over the past five years, he said.
For brands like Ariat International, a Western, English and work footwear and apparel company that recently opened its largest distribution center in Fort Worth, the stock show fits the Western lifestyle demographics for the company.
On Jan. 10, Ariat announced a new partnership as the official boot partner of Dickies Arena and the official western apparel partner of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo.
“Fort Worth is a really strong market for us,” said Susan Alcala, Ariat’s vice president of partnership marketing. “We have gotten further ingrained in the community after opening our million-square-foot distribution center and a retail location, but now we’re just increasing our commitment.”
Ariat will have a prominent presence at the stock show and will also be the presenting sponsor of the exciting lineup of entertainers in the stock show’s Auditorium Concert Series.
“This partnership with Ariat is exciting for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo because of our mutual passions for the western way of life and the community of people that make it unique and special,” said President and General Manager Brad Barnes in a news release announcing the partnership.
Dickies Arena’s most exclusive premium hospitality space at the arena, the North Club, will be officially renamed the Ariat Club.
The brand will be integrating further into the Stock Show in the future, Alcala said.
“We really signed this partnership recently, but we plan to do more as this partnership continues,” she said.
Visit Fort Worth’s Whitten said sponsorships like Ariat’s represent the growing interest in Fort Worth.
“When we are out talking about Fort Worth, we talk about the Western lifestyle and music, and it’s a real entertainment story, more than it has ever been,” he said. “Fort Worth is a place where you can really tap into that, and the stock show is a big reason for that.”
Disclaimer: Visit Fort Worth COO Mitch Whitten sits on the Board of Directors of the Fort Worth Report. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com.