February 16-18, 2011: A Trip to San Antonio
December 29, 2010 - January 12, 2011: A Trip to Florida
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January 26, 2011
Frank and Joe Perform at the
Fort Worth Stock Show



Getting to the Fort Worth Stock Show

On Wednesday, January 26, 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 go over to Fort Worth to spend the day with them as they performed. After that, we'd go have dinner with them before they went off to spend some time with Frank's mother.

So, that morning, Fred and I drove over to the Stock Show to see Frank and Joe perform their songs and cowboy poetry. 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. This 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 Perform

The arena where the performances were going on when we arrived was lightly filled; I would guess that there were fifty or sixty people there. But I guess that's not bad considering that it was noontime on a weekday and that many of the actual stock show events had adjourned for lunch.

When we got there, the performers on just before Frank and Joe were finishing up. We got some seats down close with an excellent view of the stage and, after a short while, Frank and Joe were introduced.

As you may already know, Frank Roberts grew up playing guitar and singing for family and friends, so by the time he became a Park Ranger at Garner State Park in the Texas Hill Country, he was already an accomplished performer. Over the years, the Park began to make more and more use of Frank's talents, and he performed in the Park during the summer months. He became known throughout the Texas State Park System as "the Singing Ranger." Some years ago, Frank's partner, Joe Wells, had begun to take his interest in cowboy poetry from just an amateur interest to an actual performance, and his recitals were a great complement to Frank's singing. They began performing together at Garner State Park in what the Park billed as "The Sunset Serenade." The Park offered a hayride for campers and hikers in the evening; that hayride took the patrons up the old entrance road to a point where there was a vista of the whole Park and the Texas Hill Country in the distance. With the sun setting off at an angle in the summer months, it was a perfect backdrop for their performances.

More recently, Frank and Joe have teamed up with cowgirl poet Linda Kirkpatrick, and together the three of them performed the Sunset Serenade, gigs at the San Antonio Texas Folk Life Festival and appearances at other State Parks in Texas. The three of them have performed at the Texas State Fair, and Frank and Joe have performed numerous times here at the Fort Worth Stock Show.

Fred took many pictures during their performance, and you can see four of the best of them by clicking on the thumbnail images below:

I also made two movies during the performance.

With accompaniment from Frank, Joe Wells performs a cowboy poem by S. Omar Barker.
This is one of my favorites from their repetoire. It is the full-length performance of "Annie Laurie Out on Guard," with Frank singing "Annie Laurie" and Joe reciting the accompanying poem.

After the performance, we went and had dinner with Frank and Joe, catching up on what's been happening since the last time we saw them. After dinner, we headed back to Dallas while Frank and Joe went to stay with Frank's mother. Another great performance, guys!

You can use the links below to continue to the album page for different day.

February 16-18, 2011: A Trip to San Antonio
December 29, 2010 - January 12, 2011: A Trip to Florida
Return to Index for 2011