Stock Show’s All Western Parade draws entrants from California, Hawaii
Reposted from Star-Telegram
By Shirley Jinkins
If Fort Worth is where the West begins, does it extend all the way to Hawaii? This year, for the first time, a truly far-western riding group will be participating in the All Western Parade, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday in downtown Fort Worth.
The Hawaii Pa’u Riders are women who wear lavish long riding skirts (pa’u), ride astride instead of side-saddle, and re-create the early 1800s after horses were first introduced to Hawaiians.
“That’s an interesting riding group that’s coming from Hawaii,” said parade chairman Philip Schutts, adding that their horses, of course, had to stay home.
“The way they did it is they contracted with a local stable here for the horses.”
The group’s Facebook page has a post reflecting their pleasure at being invited to the Fort Worth parade: “Hawaii Pa’u Riders are blessed to be invited to participate in the largest equestrian parade in the USA. . . . We will truly represent our State of Hawaii and Hawaiian traditions well, as this is the first time ever that Hawaii will be there.”
Members raised money for their trip by staging shows and selling promotional items throughout 2016.
Another far-western entry comes from Paso Robles, Calif. Each year, Tommy Harris and his company Harris Stage Lines send a different, beautifully restored stagecoach from his collection to roll down the parade route.
The parade draws an estimated 100,000 spectators every year to downtown Fort Worth.
This year, organizers reined in the number of entries to 150 for the first time.
“It was getting a little long,” Schutts said. “We just had to get a handle on it. Still, we’ve given out over 3,000 armbands to participants.”
These include horseback riders, wagon passengers and marching bands. There are no motorized entries — just foot traffic and horsepower.
Shutts cited the parade’s staging requirements, which are changing because of development planned within the current staging areas.
“Ultimately we will lose LaGrave Field as a staging area, so we knew we had to get a handle on parking requirements now,” he said.
There is still plenty of parade to view. “If you stood in one spot, it would take an hour and a half to an hour and 45 minutes to see it all,” he said.
“It looks like we usually run close to 2,000 horses, and we’ll be close to that this year,” Schutts said. The larger riding groups have about 100 riders each.
Local participants will include the Fort Worth Mounted Police; the TCU band and seven Fort Worth high school bands; the Fort Worth Herd wranglers on horseback; the Stock Show directors and sponsors; and Miss Texas, Miss Fort Worth and Miss Teen Fort Worth.
“We’re looking for an outstanding parade this year if the weather cooperates,” Schutts said. Only once in his 14-year run as chairman has the parade been canceled, and that was because of ice.
If a significant rain event occurred during parade hours, the parade would be canceled rather than delayed or rescheduled because participants are on a tight timeline with other Stock Show and Rodeo events.
There are two seating options for those who don’t wish to stand for the parade.
Sundance Square Plaza reserved seating is $25 per person, and Convention Center reserved seating is $15.
Seats must be purchased in advance; there will be no on-site sales the day of the parade.
Parade seat tickets include general admission passes to the Stock Show grounds on any one day during the 23-day run.
To purchase reserved seating, contact the Fort Worth Stock Show Rodeo ticket office at 817-877-2420.
Shutts said the parade becomes more amazing every year as downtown Fort Worth continues to be improved.
“The last few years, since we’ve gone to the [Sundance] plaza — it’s not just a spectacular view for the public,” Shutts said. “As you ride into that plaza, it gives you a whole new perspective of Fort Worth. We’re really honored that they let us go through the plaza.”
Location Mentioned: Sundance Square Plaza