When you come to Fort Worth this month to watch steer wrestlers, bronc riders, and team ropers do their thing for the Stock Show & Rodeo, you might notice a few acronyms popping up on signs and media reports.While all-caps shorthand has become a hallmark of the internet generation, it turns out the practice rolls old-school, too.

To help you avoid appearing like a rodeo n00b, we explain some relevant terms - a sort of FAQ, if you will.

 

FWSSR

Well, this one is pretty important, and also fairly obvious. It stands for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. It’s also the event’s website address: fwssr.com, as well as a hashtag (#fwssr) and social media handle (@fwssr) on Facebook, Twitter and Insta.

 

Now, had creating URLs been a thing back when Charles French and Charles McFarland originally envisioned the event, we might have started with FWSS. No “R” would have been necessary, since they didn’t hold a rodeo that first year of 1896. The official name (and any resulting acronym) has changed a few times over the years. If cell phones were around in 1901, French and McFarland might have texted each other about changing the name to the Texas Fat Stock Show, and then again in 1908 when the name changed to the National Feeders and Breeders Show.

 

In 1918, they added the world’s first indoor rodeo and adopted the new name Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show. A variation of this remains as the current "official" name: Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show. So if you text Grandma with FSS, NFBS, or SEFSS, will she know what you mean? We don’t know, but props to her for getting on board with texting!

 

PRCA 

This is a big one. It stands for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. The oldest and largest organization of its kind, the PRCA sanctions the rodeo held in conjunction with the Stock Show. The sanction, along with prize money, helps ensure entries from some of the world’s best cowboys because their earnings help them qualify to win the PRCA’s yearly championship. You will see a few letter-based abbreviations crop up in the PRCA’s record-keeping, too, like SW for steer wrestling and SB for saddle bronc riding. 

 

WPRA

Also a big deal, this group sanctions the barrel racing competitions. Money competitors earn here counts towards the Women's Professional Rodeo Association standings.

 

NFR

These letters stand for National Finals Rodeo. It’s the season-ending competition held each December in Las Vegas. Good performances in Fort Worth can help cowgirls and cowboys qualify for the signature event of the PRCA and WPRA.

 

PBR

The Professional Bull Riders circuit won’t hold competitions at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo because the PRCA is the sanctioning body. You might hear the name, though, because the PBR does hold high-profile bull riding competitions. 

 

AQHA

The American Quarter Horse Association will hold a Ranching Heritage Challenge at the Stock Show on January 16 The AQHA lays claim to being the world’s largest equine breed registry and membership organization.

The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo runs January 17 – February 8 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center and Dickies Arena.