January 25-28, 2008: A Visit to Ruckman Haus
January 19, 2008: Watching Joe Nichols at Billy Bob's Texas
Return to Index for 2008

January 23, 2008
Frank and Joe Perform at the
Fort Worth Stock Show



Getting to the Fort Worth Stock Show

On Wednesday, January 23, Frank Roberts and Joe Wells, two of Fred's oldest friends from the Hill Country (you have probably met them before in this photo album) came up to Fort Worth to perform at the Fort Worth Stock Show representing the Texas State Parks. They had another good reason for coming up, and that was to see Frank's mother who still lives in Fort Worth.

Frank and Joe had coordinated with Fred, and he and I planned to see Frank and Joe twice. On Tuesday night, Fred and I went over to Euless to have dinner with Frank, Joe, Frank's mother and her husband at a Mexican restaurant that they liked to frequent. We did that and had a great meal and a great time.

Then, the next day, Fred and I collected Steve Friedman (Mario had to work) and took him over to the Stock Show to see Frank and Joe perform their songs and cowboy poetry around noontime on Wednesday. The Fort Worth Stock Show is held each year at the Will Rogers Coliseum complex just southwest of downtown Fort Worth. This part of Fort Worth is where all the museums are, including the Science Museum and IMAX Theatre (to which Fred and I have been frequently), the Amon Carter museum, the Kimball Museum and Casa Manana. The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens are also nearby. You may also have seen this area visited on other album pages in the past.

Getting over there is pretty easy; it's just I-30 from Dallas to University Drive, and then up and around the complex to the parking area on the west side of it.


The Will Rogers Complex

Frank and Joe (along with a number of other folks) were going to be performing in what is actually the Auction Arena at the Will Rogers complex. To get to it, we parked over on the west side of the complex, bought our tickets at the door and then went in and through the first of four major buildings. This first building houses the eating places and the vendor display hall. The vendors set up shop to sell all manner of western stuff and other items connected with the business of raising stock.

We walked east out of that building and into the Will Rogers Equestrian Center. This building, the Burnett Building, is basically a huge barn, with stalls on both sides for horses, cows and the other stock that might be there. The building is primarily for horses, and there is a performance ring on the north side of the central aisle that bisects the building. As we walked east, we passed the entrance to the Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum where the actual Stock Show takes place. The Coliseum also hosts rodeos and other events.

As we continued through the building to the east, we finally exited the other side about to cross a narrow street and enter the last of the major buildings in the complex. As we crossed this street, Fred got some good pictures of the Art Deco Will Rogers Tower, the top of which is also shown here in closeup. The fourth building we entered houses, apparently, the business end of the Stock Show, and it is here that stock auctions are held and other business transacted. Frank and Joe were going to be performing in what is actually the auction arena. It is a stadium-seating affair around a central platform where the stock are brought out from holding areas behind the small arena and the auctions are held. The central platform is like a small stage, surrounded on three sides by seating, with the auctioneer up above on a balcony. For today's performances, of course, there were no animals and no auction.


Frank and Joe: First Performance

The arena where the performances were going on when we arrived was lightly filled; I would guess that there were only fifty or so people there. But I guess that's not bad considering that it was noon on a weekday. Anyway, when we got there, the performer on just before Frank and Joe was finishing up. We got some seats down close and, after a short while, Frank and Joe were introduced.

I apologize for the quality of the still photos that Fred and I took. Both of us have low light settings on our cameras, but you have to hold them awfully still to get a good picture. The flash didn't help because we were much too far away from Frank and Joe for anything but a professional flash to work. But the movies are better, as our cameras constantly adjust the light setting.

Frank and Joe actually performed two "sets" of songs and poetry- one at about noon and the other about two-thirty in the afternoon. During the first performance, Fred and I took a few good movies of Frank and Joe performing. We didn't always get the whole song or poem for one reason or another, but they are reasonably complete. Use the movie players below to watch the movies we took during their first performance:

Frank Roberts:The Long Chaparral
Frank Roberts/Joe Wells: The Fence (Part 1)

Frank Roberts/Joe Wells: The Fence (Part 2)
Frank Roberts: Cattle Call

When Frank and Joe were done with their first performance, they were followed by another group of performers whose names I didn't catch.


Wandering Around the Stock Show

When Frank and Joe were done with their first performance, they spent some time outside the arena talking with some of the other performers and Frank's brother who had come over to see him. Steve, Fred and I engaged when we could but most of the time let Frank and Joe have their time. We'd decided that we wouldn't try to have lunch before the second performance, but that we would wander over to the vendor building instead.

So we retraced our path back through the Equestrian Center to the Vendor/Concession building. Just as we were about to enter the building, we stopped and Fred took some pictures of the rest of us (in one of which a passerby gave Frank a hat he just had to wear. I've put thumbnails for these pictures below; you can view the full-size picture by clicking on the thumbnail:

We went into the vendor building and spent the better part of an hour and a half looking at all the displays and talking with some of the vendors. I found some buffalo stuff for Fred, but didn't want to buy it there and carry it home, so I collected some cards and will contact the vendors directly. We stopped for some fudge and then ran across a vendor selling customized baseball caps. Brad did the same kind of thing quite a few years ago, but we immediately noticed that one of the logos you could get was a buffalo.

So we spent some time with the vendor designing the front of the cap and ordered three of them, to be picked up later in the afternoon, after Frank and Joe's second performance. As you can see from the picture at left, they turned out very well. I enjoyed looking at all the vendor stuff, and got some good ideas for gifts for Fred in the future.



Frank and Joe: Second Performance

In their second performance, Frank and Joe performed one of my favorites from their repetoire- "Annie Laurie Out on Guard," and if you don't watch any of the other movies you should watch this one. Joe also recited a Christmas poem that I had not heard before but which was quite funny- "Rudolph's Night Off." Finally, Frank did a song that I had not heard in a long time entitled "Why Do You Ride?" You can use the movie players below to watch these performances:

Frank Roberts/Joe Wells: Annie Laurie Out on Guard

Joe Wells: Rudolph's Night Off
Frank Roberts: Why Do You Ride?

At the conclusion of their second performance, they were done for the Stock Show, so we finally got to go get a late lunch/early supper. We finally settled on a Chili's right down University Drive. We spent quite a bit of time there, eating and talking. I hope that now that Fred's time is his own he will get to see Frank and Joe more often, and I look forward to our next visit with them in the Hill Country.

January 25-28, 2008: A Visit to Ruckman Haus
January 19, 2008: Watching Joe Nichols at Billy Bob's Texas
Return to Index for 2008