How to Round Out Your Rodeo Experience in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex

By: Shelley Seale
A cowboy bullriding in the dust at a rodeo. Getty Images / David Trood

It’s that legendary time of year.  The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (Jan. 13 – 16) will soon be reining in the masses and calling to the cowboy in everyone.  What’s a would-be Roy Rogers or Dale Evans to do in town when not cheering from the stands?  The DFW area offers several Western immersion experiences, from the biggest and best little hat factory in Garland to the grounds of a historic and Hollywood-famous ranch just outside of Plano.


A Cowboy Ain’t a Cowboy Without…

The cowboy hat is as Old West and all-American as it gets, and, little known to many, Garland is home to the largest hat-making facility in the world: Resistol Cowboy Hats. You can bet a large percentage of rodeo competitors will be donning the famous headgear – in fact, the company has also introduced a patented safety “helmet” version that still has that cowboy look.  For anyone curious about how these hats get made, the Resistol manufacturing plant offers behind-the-scenes tours every Tuesday and Thursday. Visitors can watch how the Resistol hats truly “resist-all” and maybe even buy their own at the outlet store right next door.  For those who prefer a different style hat, the company is also famous for fedoras worn by everyone from Tom Landry to Justin Timberlake.  Tours must be reserved ahead.  Tour tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids 12 and under.

Saddle Up at Southfork Ranch 

Home to the hit drama series ‘Dallas’ for over a decade, Southfork Ranch began as a working ranch up the road from Plano. Nowadays, any country cowboy or city slicker can spend a “Day on the Ranch”. Your Wild West day begins at 10 A.M with a two-hour horse education segment, followed by a trail ride through the grounds on horseback. Next, get a private tour of the ‘Dallas’-famous Ewing Mansion and see the gun that shot J.R. Finish off your day with a complimentary lunch, a credit at the gift shop, and a send-off snack.