Viewpoint

Get ready for a boot-scootin’ good time in Fort Worth

By Billy Gibson, CCA Board Member

Seems like it was only yesterday that I was bidding my CCA colleagues a fond farewell after the closing session of the 2017 CCA Institute in Baton Rouge.

This year the Institute moves from the slow meandering waters and moss-covered oaks of the south Louisiana bayous to the sweeping golden plains of north Texas.

Fort Worth is the site of this year’s event and the CCA Institute planning committee has been hard at work with the goal of organizing yet another great educational and networking experience.

Referring to past attendee evaluations as a helpful guide, committee members have rounded up a robust slate of top-quality speakers to cover important topics such as smart phone photography, InDesign techniques, designing infographics, conveying cooperative principles to key audiences and how to most effectively get your message across to key audiences.

There are also plans to develop a smartphone app to help attendees coordinate their schedules and easily access information.

Bring your boots!
Highlighting the social component of this year’s Institute is an evening at Billy Bob’s and the historic Fort Worth Stockyards.

No visit to Fort Worth is complete without a visit to Billy Bob’s. My first time to experience the mammoth venue was back in the 1990s, and I still remember getting lost in the place.

As Texans love to boast that everything is big in their state, Billy Bob’s is definitely big…real big. The club billed as the world’s largest honky-tonk opened in 1981 during the “Urban Cowboy” craze and has nearly three acres under roof with dozens of bars, spacious dance floors, a live music hall, a full-service restaurant, an arcade and even an indoor rodeo arena with professional bull-riding.

Line dancing is a favorite activity at Billy Bob’s, and after hosting our fun-filled social event at the Old Louisiana State Capitol Building last summer, I can attest that our CCA friends really do love to dance.

Stroll the Fort Worth Stockyards
But if country music, line dancing or bull riding don’t hold your interest, there’s plenty to do at the Fort Worth Stockyards.

The city’s history as a stop on the old Chisholm Trail and major cattle center comes to life at the Stockyards, which is recognized as a National Historical District. Formed at the turn of the 20th century, the Forth Worth Stockyards Company served as the regional hub of the cattle business and the bustling complex that sprang up around the stockyards became known as the “Wall Street of the West.”

More than 5 million head of cattle were traded during World War II. But after the war ended and long-haul trucking entered the scene, activity at the stockyards began to decline.

In 1976, the North Fort Worth Historical Society began an effort to restore important landmarks within the complex, such as the Livestock Exchange Building, the Coliseum and the Swift and Co. headquarters, and transform the district into a tourist destination. The Stockyards Museum opened in 1989, and has attracted millions of visitors from around the world.

While in Fort Worth, CCA members will have an opportunity to witness one of the two daily cattle drives that take place at the stockyards.

To boot, there are scores of shops and restaurants serving up everything from Texas-style barbecue to south-of-the-border cuisine. There are rodeos, cowboy skills demonstrations, concerts, museums, a winery, Wild West shows, walking tours, mechanical bull riding, Segway tours, ghost tours and plenty of family-friendly activities.

The last time I traveled to Fort Worth, I did a bit of souvenir shopping and took in one of the Wild West shows. I thought long and hard about testing my mettle on the mechanical bull, but I changed my mind when the fellow who was a few spots in line ahead of me came limping out of the pen holding not his shoulder or knee but – shall we say – a very sensitive part of his anatomy.

That’s when I discreetly backed out of line and headed to the Stockyards Museum.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about the 2018 Institute in upcoming email and social media notices, and in the May issue of the CCA Communique. Clear your calendar now for a boot-scootin’ good time this June.

Institute Intel
Date: June 2-5
Early Discount Deadline: May 9
Early registration fee: $425 for members
Register now: www.communicators.coop/institute-registration-2018/
Hotel: Hilton For Worth
Room per night: $169/night, plus 15.81% tax (must book by May 9)
Make your hotel reservation: Click Here