“Experience the Wild West like a Rhinestone Cowboy: Unveiling the Rich Heritage of Fort Worth’s Stockyards and Dallas”
The Rhinestone Cowboy
“Ma’am, keep behind the line, they’ll be arriving soon,” said in a real Texas cowboy, drawl and all, mounted on horseback. He was referring to the imminent cattle drive which takes place twice-daily along Exchange Avenue here in Stockyards, Fort Worth, a tradition that pays homage to the cattle drives that took place along the Chisolm Trail long ago.
Whimsical public art in Dallas
This is cowboy country in the Lone Star State. Cowboy culture lassoes throughout its historic Mule Alley jammed with saloon bars, live music blaring out to the streets, especially from Billy Bobs, said to be the world’s largest honky-tonk and the place to practice your line dancing. Rhinestone boots dazzle on store shelves, glittering in the sun displaying eye-watering prices, but then, they are the real McCoy. Fancy your own cowboy hat? There is every style, shape and colour here with many accessories to add to it together with tasselled tee-shirts and souvenirs. And plenty of restaurants with BBQ top on the menu and slaw piled high on plates while beer and margaritas are the mainstay of the drinks order.
Stockyards is one of Fort Worth’s most famous attractions. For over a hundred years this has been the centre of cattle trading in the area. In the early 1900s, over a million cattle per year were sold at the Stockyards, making it the Texan equivalent to Wall Street back in the day. The Cowtown Coliseum is one of the most historic buildings in Fort Worth which hosted the world’s first indoor rodeo in 1918. It’s the place to go to watch the bulls and bull riders, rodeo at its finest. And if we’re talkin’ cowboys, check out the museum dedicated to John Wayne, where a wall lists his many films including The Alamo, El Dorado, True Grit, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and The Desert Trail. But it’s not just cowboys, you’ll find plenty of cowgirls in the city as well, especially honoured at the Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.
Kick start your boot game at a store in Fort Worth
Just 33 miles away is Dallas, a vibrant, cosmopolitan city and home to key attractions such as Reunion Tower Geo-Deck and Pioneer Plaza with its bronze re-creation of a longhorn steer cattle drive which celebrates the trails that brought settlers here. Deep Ellum is the hippy, trendy side of the city, with over 30 live music venues and BBQ hangouts. On a more sombre note, the location of J.F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 is marked in Dealey Plaza.
Cattle drives have a long history in Texas
Fame & Fortune
Both locations share the fame of film and TV exposure. Dallas gained recognition from the primetime television hit series during the 1970s 80s and 90s. For 13 years, weekly television viewers tuned into “Dallas” for 356 episodes over 14 seasons, making it one of the longest running TV programmes of its time. With big ranches, big money and big glamour, the show focussed on the Ewings, an affluent and feuding Texas family who owned an independent oil company and cattle-ranching land at South Fork. The ranch is 25 miles away. There are daily tours which offer nostalgic glimpses into the glamourous world of Dallas and an exhibition of memorabilia. The popular TV series of Taylor Sheridan’s 1883 and the prequel to the drama Yellowstone attracts tourists and enthusiasts who can witness the locations seen on screen. The first two episodes of the series were filmed in the Fort Worth Stockyards and surrounding areas.
The rumbling starts, there’s a hush in the crowd, the Texas Longhorn shuffle along led and steered by the cowhands. It’s the time when the old west comes alive. And with horns that span more than 8 feet, from tip to tip, I’m pleased to be well away from the frontline.
John Wayne Museum at Fort Worth Stockyards
Other Places and Attractions to Visit
Waco (around 100 miles)
The Mammoth National Monument features a climate-controlled dig shelter to view the bones of 23 ice-age Columbian Mammoths This is the nation’s first and only recorded discovery of a nursery herd of Pleistocene mammoths near the Bosque River – a glimpse into the long-lost world
The Dr Pepper Museum, the oldest soda brand in America, is in a historic bottling factory with interesting memorabilia.
San Antonio (around 290 miles)
A city with a genteel Riverwalk offering boat trips reciting its rich and diverse history while passing pretty restaurants and cafes. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, designated by UNESCO as a world heritage site, which protects the living heritage of the people transformed here and the stone structure they built.
Austin (around 195 miles)
The capital of the Lone Star State is known for its eclectic live-music scene as well as outdoor fun at the numerous parks and lakes, popular for hiking, biking, swimming, boating and chilling out on sultry summer nights.
BeSeeingYou In: Texas, USA
GoodToKnow: Cattle Drives in Fort Worth take place twice a day. Arrive early to get a place. They take place at 11.30am and 4pm.
WOW Factor: You may have seen cowboys and cowgirls on screen, but they’re 100% real here.
Tip: Forget the diet! Expect huge plates of food. This is BBQ territory.
Author Bio: Jane Wilson