It takes a lot to impress young people these days. Everything they see and hear has to be authentic. Even if it resembles something bogus, it is frowned upon. Still, when gazing upon the real article, millenials often have a sense of old-school wonder. Few sports or activities are as true as the rodeo and few of them are as original as the Stockyards Fort Worth Rodeo.
A cement and concrete arena that can seat 3,418, the Cowtown Coliseum is a place that oozes charisma from every inch and was the first indoor venue of its kind to hold rodeo events since its launch in 1908. The strong smell of cows, the views of hundreds of real cowgirls and cowboys walking around in their bull-riding hats and the comings and goings of hipsters swigging blue bottles of Bud Light greet you just before the show begins. But wait, this is no show, this is as real as it gets and is far from your dreaded cubicle or your boring work meeting.
The good times begin long before you step inside the coliseum, though. As soon as you walk on the cobblestone streets of the Forth Worth Stockyards, you get a feeling that you are in another country; you quickly get used to the bovine scents.
Here, in this 98-acre historical district is a real family-friendly place that also allows open containers. That means you can down your beer on the street as your boots thud sonorously on these historic sidewalks--how cool is that?
The juggernaut of freedom that The Stockyards exudes becomes the antidote to boredom. The frenzied pace of corporate America is left behind as cowboy culture welcomes you with open arms. The citizens of the Stockyards know just how bad we are entangled by modern life and they have just the right potions to free us from our shackles.
There is something magical about the Stockyards, like if you just entered Middle Earth and despite having a mythological mien all around you, it feels--just like the J.R.R. Tolkien novels- more real than the so-called real world; you are alive, happy and free.
It's full of shops, tourists, horse rides, cantinas photo ops, mechanical bulls, Longhorn cattle drives and restaurants with tasty Texan food. But unlike an amusement park, nothing here is contrived or fake. The participants are all what they are supposed to be and not pretending what they are not; it's Marlboro Country.
If everything feels "real" that's because it is. The Stockyards was the last outpost for Old West cattle drives to make a stop before they headed to Abilene...