Yeehaw! Welcome To The Wild Wild West
Had someone told me that I could experience the age-old wild-wild west, I would have laughed outright. Where in the world does someone have time to play cowboys today? But Oh Boy! I would have been really wrong. If an old, western style holiday is on your mind, you have to go to Fort Worth, Dallas. This gem of a place hiding in the midst of a bustling city is like traveling down the memory lane. Fort Worth Stockyards is the place to be for some country fun. Things to do in Fort Worth are unlimited, you just need to wear your cowboy hat and be ready to jangle your spurs and tackle the longhorn.
The Planning Over A Hot Cup Of Tea
We were visiting friends in Dallas over the Christmas weekend. Sonali and Rahul were indeed very gracious hosts. They were warm, welcoming and very accommodating. Breakfast was done and general chit-chat was happening over a hot cup of tea (we Indians can never do without tea). The kids were running all over the place screaming, shouting, throwing toys and generally creating a ruckus. The house was warm and cozy while outside it was a chilly 20 C. Venturing out was the last thing on the mind as the feel like temperature was -10 C. And yet the talk turned to experiencing the wild-wild west of Fort Worth Stockyards. Since we had traveled all the way from India we could not allow a little bit of cold weather to dampen our spirits. With guns blazing (read enthusiasm) we rolled ourselves and the kids into layers of warm clothing and set course to Fort Worth, Dallas.
The First Glimpse
At first glance, this place looks like a page right out of a western novel. People wearing Stetsons and boots flock the streets. Bars with the same old western charm, wooden façade and country music spilling out, look surreal. Dust flies no more and gun-shots are not waiting to be fired. Although, some of the buildings do have bullet holes from the times gone by. The old country charm is loaded to the brim. The only thing lacking is, no horses waiting in the stables for their owners to come out of the salon after downing a pitcher of ale. On a more modern note, the horsepower sure does line the streets in the form of cars of every make.
A little Info About Fort Worth Stock Yards
Fort Worth is the 5th largest city in Texas. It is also the 15th largest city in the United States of America. Fort Worth Stock Yards is actually a National Historic District. It was once one of the largest livestock markets in the United States.
Things To Do In Fort Worth Stock Yards
Fort Worth Stock Yards is the place to witness a cattle drive. In fact, the Fort Worth Herd is the world’s only cattle drive that happens twice daily. The Texan longhorns look kind of menacing walking down the pathway. The cowboys astride the horses present an equally intimidating site – dashing, rugged and rough around the edges. Needless to say, the sight though easy on eyes has a lot of hard work and patience behind it.
Rodeo In Action – Cowtown Coliseum
In order to see live rodeo action, Cowtown Coliseum is the place to be. Charming and surreal this building has old looks but is done up with all the modern amenities to keep spectators comfortable. This is also the place where you can see the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. Swashbuckling gunslingers and swaggering whip action are all doled out with oodles of attitude and western charm. Lassoing the Longhorns and breaking out into an impromptu ditty is all a part of the fast-paced show.
From cowboy boots to Stetsons, saddles, and spurs, you get it all here. As a souvenir, these are quite popular items. However, if your budget is low you can buy the Lone Star fridge magnets, shot glasses, fake hats, salt shakers, and other knick-knacks. There is something for everyone.
What is a wild west without an old style salon? The false wooden front with a wide boardwalk, swinging doors and flowing beer…Well! This was in the past. Nonetheless, no need to be disappointed because much still remains the same. The façade with false wooden front and swinging doors is still there. The beer is also present though it is now accompanied by a wide variety of other liquors to cater to sophisticated tastes.
Classic Railroad Experience
For a vintage experience, the other must do is a train excursion from the Stock Yards station. Operating mostly on the weekend, between March and November, this train excursion is a true delight. The excursion starts at the Stockyards railway station and rides along the historic Cotton Belt route. It takes approximately 30 mins for the train to complete the circuit and return to the Stock Yards station. However, tickets for the same cannot be booked online. So you need to be present there in person to purchase tickets. Alas, we had gone there in December so could not avail the pleasure of this fabulous vintage ride.
Stock Yards Where The Old West Lives
The true beauty of stockyards lies in the harmony that is created between the past and the present. This place will always be remembered when I next pick up a book about the old west. Fort Worth Stock Yards was a place worth visiting and braving the cold. As the night descended, the roads became deserted but the bars and restaurants picked up speed. With kids in tow, we purchased our souvenirs’ and called it a day…A day well spent!