Oh. If those arena walls could speak.

Maybe they would borrow from the Will Rogers legacy and take artistic liberty to say, “I never met a man I didn’t like inside those walls at Will Rogers Arena.”

Or maybe they would wax romantic and say, “I met my wife or husband there.” Or … “we kissed in that arena for the first time one night …”

Maybe, on Feb. 9, the last day of the rodeo they would heave and sigh and say, “So long pardners, see you down the road.”

Down the street would be more like it to the new Dickies Arena.

“Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today,” advised Will Rogers. He would not want us spending too much time on the past, as rich as it had been for Fort Worth.

The first rodeo at Will Rogers was in 1944 a mere 75 years ago. The last one will be Sunday evening, Feb. 9, 2019.

There’s room for nostalgia and all the memories that began in Will Rogers but when the lights fade to black there is also the bright beginning of excitement and dawn of a new day at the Dickies Arena, sure to be a shining jewel for Fort Worth.

Next year’s rodeo will be there. We can hardly wait.

At the Stock Show’s annual superintendent’s dinner on Wednesday night Jan. 16, FWSSR President Brad Barnes reminded the crowd that we all get the privilege of being a part of and witness to history when the rodeo moves.

And it’s important to remember that all the Stock Show events that swirl around the barns – several of them new – will still be at the Will Rogers complex.

The iconic statue of Will Rogers in front of the main entry gates to the coliseum is called “Into the Sunset.”

The rodeo in the arena rides into that sunset but on the other side of a sunset is a sunrise.

– Richard Connor

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