Visiting the Stockyards National Historic District is an immersive and entertaining way to step back to the wild days of Texas and give kids a snapshot of Western history that is tangible. My kids have lived it up 1880’s style over many trips to the Stockyards, but we had yet to attend a Pawnee Bill Wild West Show. The show is a re-enactment of the original Pawnee Bill shows that toured through the US and Europe in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Performances include exciting events like trick roping, trick riding, and a bull whip demonstration, but I worried that the old-style entertainment would be boring for modern day kids who are used to multi-media presentations.
Still, a little boredom never hurt anyone (yes, I am that mom!), so we grabbed our tickets and headed into the coliseum for the show. A lilting campfire song and a mock cattle drive set the mood for a series of acts that closely resembled the performances that wowed audience a century before. As an adult, I appreciated the authenticity of the show, but I wondered how my kids would react. Watching from behind their oversized cowboy hats, they seemed engaged and excited by the entertainment of yesteryear, so I waited until the end of the show to hear their thoughts.
As soon as the final show of pageantry exited the stage, the boys were excitedly talking about their favorite parts of the show. One of them liked the sharpshooting skills, while another was amazed by the trick roping. They were all impressed by the gravity defying trick riding. The most rousing form of approval came from my seven year-old when he said “Do you think I could get a cowboy shirt? And some boots? And a rope? And a whip or a gun?”
That was exactly the kind of response I was hoping to get. His imagination was sparked by the show so much that he wanted to be a cowboy, and he was connected to the past in a way that was memorable and genuine. It didn’t take a multi-media presentation or anything with a plug to do it either. All it took was a the crack of a whip, the twirl of a rope, and a step back in time with Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show.
Pawnee Bill’s Wild West Show performs on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 and 4:30 throughout the summer. To purchase tickets call 1-888-COWTOWN or 817-625-1025.