Members of FWSSR executive committee voted Oct. 6 to cancel next year’s show after consulting with infectious disease experts and public health professionals. According to an organizational release, the stock show and rodeo draws more than 1.2 million guests annually and would create a high risk for further community spread of COVID-19.
“This is a heartbreaking decision for our leadership and was not made lightly,” FWSSR President Brad Barnes said in the release. “The challenges we face to create practical and enforceable protocols and procedures to comply with COVID-19 guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are extremely daunting. The uncertainty of the [virus's] potential spread across Texas and the nation during the upcoming flu season was another major factor weighing on our decision.”
Officials have calculated crowds exceeding 140,000 people per day during the nearly monthlong event held at Will Rogers Memorial Center. In addition, more than 30,000 animals are exhibited at the stock show representing exhibitors from more than 200 Texas counties.
The FWSSR has been canceled only once before in 1943 as a result of WWII. As Fort Worth’s oldest and largest event, the show also has a responsibility to help bring the pandemic to an end, Barnes said.
“The health and safety of our community is of the utmost importance,” added Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja. “We support the Stock Show’s executive committee in making this difficult decision.”