Fort Worth Convention and visitors Bureau Blog

Guide to the PBR World FInals

Many believe the rides at the PBR World Finals represent the most exciting eight seconds in sport (the riders hope it’s eight seconds - the bovine competitors prefer a shorter time frame)…

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Linsay Rosser-Sumpter: Woman Worth Meeting

“With the 50th anniversary of title IX approaching, I am reminded of its positive impact in my life as a female athlete. My hope is to continue the fight for equal opportunities for women and empower what makes us unique,” said Linsay Rosser-Sumpter via email. She benefitted from the legislation as a standout student-athlete at California Polytechnic University-San Luis Obispo and now guides collegiate competitors as the head rodeo coach at Otero College in Colorado. “As someone who seeks to inspire the upcoming generation of women in rodeo by showing that anything is possible regardless of your gender, having a system that implements policies to support such goals of equality is incredibly meaningful.” She brings that same sentiment to her newest endeavor as Commissioner of the Women’s Rodeo World Championship. In the statement she issued immediately after the organization announced her hire, she wrote, “THIS EVENT STANDS TO SHATTER THE CEILING FOR COWGIRLS ALL OVER THIS GREAT NATION.” And yes, she did put it in ALL CAPS. She’ll preside over the WRWC May 16-18 at Fort Worth’s Cowtown Coliseum, as 179 female rodeo athletes vie for shares of a women’s rodeo record $750,000 purse. This year marks the first time they’ll charge admission for the final round, which CBS Sports Network will also broadcast nationally. The 43-year-old still competes professionally as a breakaway roper who has (more than one) day job. She wants all women to do the same if they want to. “I am deeply motivated by the desire to ensure women in rodeo and the western industry have endless opportunities to remain involved for their entire lives, never having to ‘hang it up’ because the opportunities are not there as women,” she declared.…

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May Fun in Fort Worth

April showers may bring May flowers, but in Funky Town, May also brings the fun with events happening all over all month long. Here are a few of our favorite picks. May 5 SPRING MARKET & MOTHER’S DAY SIP & SHOP If you’re still wondering what Mom would like to do for Mother’s Day - you’re in luck…

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Leslie Bedford: Woman Worth Meeting

Title IX has benefitted female competitors not only in terms of the number of athletes participating, but also in the quantity of sports from which they can choose. Women have made significant inroads in pastimes once unavailable to their gender, including combat sports. “Women's wrestling is the number one growing sport in college right now,” explained Fort Worth wrestling force Leslie Bedford. “Every year there's more and more opportunity for these girls to get scholarships.” The first U.S. collegiate women’s wrestling program didn’t begin until 1993, but athletic departments have accelerated their engagement with the sport in recent years. NAIA schools have led the way, with the organization recently approving women’s wrestling as the association’s 28th national championship, elevating it from invitational status. Men’s wrestling powerhouse Iowa last year became the first Power 5 institution to start a team, with the Hawkeyes set to begin competing in the 2023-24 season. Bedford herself helped launch the program at Fort Worth’s Texas Wesleyan University. “Texas Wesleyan decided to establish a boys and girls wrestling team. And I thought my husband would be absolutely perfect for it and between him and I doing it together, I'd be his support,” Leslie said of the circumstances by which her husband Ray became the Rams’ first head coach. “He was hired three years ago.” Under the Bedfords, the Wesleyan grapplers have progressed quickly. The women’s team finished fifth at last month’s NAIA Women's National Invitational. Lexie Basham became the program’s first national champion when she took first place in the 130-pound weight class. In addition to helping the collegiate wrestlers however they need, Leslie works with the sport at every level. She and Ray own the Spartan Mat Club in North Fort Worth, providing a competition hub for all ages. They try to create a welcoming climate there. “Wrestling is definitely a community. And our kids can come from all over the place. We have kids from Prosper, Rockwall, Burleson, Azle, driving daily, just for the partners and just for the family (atmosphere),” she said. “Tons of Fort Worth kids, too.” In the spirit of Title IX, they try remove as many barriers to participation as possible, while also ensuring their young beneficiaries embrace that same community spirit.  …

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Lisa Langston: Woman Worth Meeting

Fort Worth ISD Director of Athletics Dr. Lisa Langston embraced sports when she discovered her future wouldn’t lie in the performing arts. “I went out for track as a fourth-grader when I was not selected for the Sound of Music. I realized, first, that I could not sing, but most importantly, I enjoyed playing sports and was pretty good. As a seventh-grader, I realized that I had the potential to earn an athletic scholarship,” she told us via email. “I did earn an athletic scholarship.” The university she began attending in 1983, Texas A&M, had only admitted female students for 20 years at that point. She played basketball for four years, but didn’t stop her athletic achievements there. “After my fourth year after basketball, I went out and ran track that spring. So that was my first outdoor season. And then my fifth year of college. I actually ran my fifth year as a graduate student,” she explained. In all, Lisa ran two seasons outdoors and one indoors, competing in the 100-meter hurdles, and the sprint relay. The women’s basketball team had existed since 1974, with the sport only coming under the auspices of the NCAA the year before Lisa enrolled. She credits a signature piece of legislation with paving the way for her and others. “Title IX was essential in giving girls and women more athletic opportunities. Title IX, as a law, is an accountability system that cannot be overlooked.” The early-1970s law effectively required educational institutions receiving government funds to ensure female students could engage in athletic pursuits just as their male counterparts had for decades. Lisa believes it has had a positive impact. “Today more people understand the significance and what aspects of athletic programming are required to comply with the law. Female student-athletes, especially at the collegiate level, are enjoying better facilities, better nutrition, better housing than even before - all because of Title IX.” The Texas A&M women’s basketball program has become one of the best in the country. The Aggies won a national championship in 2011. They’ve made progress on the court and off since Langston’s playing days. “I was just back at A&M this past January for women's basketball reunions, and you look at the facilities compared to what we had back in the day, it is as different as day and night,” Lisa noted. “Our locker room for basketball, it had been the visiting team’s locker room because A&M, being an all-men's university at first then adding in women's sports, they had to renovate what they had. Lisa still ranks in A&M’s all-time top ten in both scoring and steals, even as the program has attained national prominence. One of the head coaches who helped her achieve that success had a lasting influence on her. “I flourished under her guidance. As an athletic administrator herself, she was an excellent role model and I learned what leadership looked like from her,” Lisa said of former Aggie Senior Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Lynn Hickey. “She helped me to see that I had value beyond a basketball court. It changed the trajectory of my life. I even had a better basketball season because of it. She gave me some advice, basically, that I would have opportunities in life. But I needed to be prepared.“ After college, Lisa played professional basketball for two seasons in Germany and one in Spain. “It was a life-changing experience,” she said. “I learned how to be sensitive to other people who were different than me, because I was a foreigner. And so I know how that felt.” Competition itself also shaped Lisa’s outlook as well. “Sports taught me how to work as a team for the good of the group. Sports taught me how to set goals. I learned confidence. I learned I could persevere through adversity and difficulties. Sports taught me that I could make a difference in someone else's life.”…

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Must-See Live Shows this May

We’ve parsed through the lineups and cut through the noise to bring you a monthly roundup of the best live shows in Fort Worth. May 5-8 Mayfest 2022 The biggest party in Fort Worth is back — yay! This year’s Mayfest has fun festival foods, carnival rides, pet adoption booths, art and gift market…

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Cinco de Mayo in Fort Worth

Cinco de Mayo Celebrations have started, and Fort Worth has a few in store to commemorate Mexico’s victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. From drink specials around town to family-friendly events, Cinco de Mayo is also a great excuse to support Mexican-owned businesses in the city…

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Stacy Martin: Woman Worth Meeting

Stacy Martin believes participating in sport paved the way for her success, and not just because she works in the sports industry today. “I truly believe that sports teaches you the best lessons you can learn in life; dedication, hard work, patience, physical and emotional strength, mental…

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Noël Couch: Woman Worth Meeting

When she joins the nation’s elite collegiate artistic gymnasts in Fort Worth this week for the National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championship, Noël Couch will have a unique perspective on what it took for them to get here. Noël made trips to Cleveland, Ohio; Duluth, Georgia; and Los Angeles, California when she was their age to compete in this same event. The former Georgia Gymdog can now add the experience of event organizer to that of event participant. “I continue to share my passion with the sports community serving as the Assistant Director of Championships and Alliances at the NCAA,” she told us via email. “I am honored to serve as an advocate and leader for the incredible ladies competing in the Women's Gymnastics Championship.” She earned All-American honors five times in her final three seasons at Georgia, including on the vault in 2011 and 2012, the floor exercise in 2011 and 2013, and the all-around in 2011. Noël also collected the program’s Scholar-Athlete Award in 2013 as a senior, adding it to multiple other academic honors including three years each on the Scholastic All-America Team and the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll. She continued her academic pursuits at Georgia and earned a J.D. with honors from the campus law school. She worked for a law firm and Sacred Heart University before joining the NCAA in January to oversee women’s gymnastics and lacrosse championship events. Her experience serves as an example of the positive effect sports can have on athletes like the ones for whom she now facilitates competitions. “Not a day goes by that I don't apply the lessons learned during my athletics career,” she said. “Gymnastics has taught me loyalty, integrity, and resilience.” Noël got an early start on forming those qualities as she hit the gym for the first time when she was two-and-a-half years old. “At a young age, I developed a love of gymnastics and throughout my career I learned the importance of complementing my athletic talent with academic excellence, community service, and a commitment to my faith.”…

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Jasna Rather: Woman Worth Meeting

Though she came of age in her sport in the 1980s, Jasna Rather didn’t owe her opportunities to Title IX. Born in a country then known as Yugoslavia, the former Jasna Fazlić worked through the club sport system in place there. Though boys had more opportunities, top female athletes could stay…

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