The Justin Boot Company has made its home in Fort Worth since 1925. The iconic family-owned bootmaker and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's (PRCA) National Finals Rodeo® have worked together ever since the event first occurred in Dallas in 1959. This year, the NFR® moved from Las Vegas to Arlington’s Globe Life Field, with many of the related events taking place right here in Fort Worth.
We caught up with Tom Feller, Director of Event Marketing at Justin Boots, to talk about the rodeo and the company that he loves. The Jane and John Justin Foundation’s generosity to their Fort Worth home is well-known, with the Foundation supporting local hospitals, Texas Christian University and more. Just like the PRCA, the Justin company’s generosity spans decades and miles.
Justin Sportsmedicine Team®
Feller said one of Justin’s main contribution to the NFR® was a sports medicine program that John Justin, Jr. helped originate in 1980. Dr. J. Pat Evans (then affiliated with the Dallas Cowboys) and Don Andrews, along with Justin, cobbled together a volunteer network of medical professionals including orthopedists, athletic trainers, trauma specialists and dentists, who were interested in providing medical coverage at the NFR®. You wouldn’t think of having any athlete competing in a major sport without a sports medicine doc nearby, but that’s how the PRCA worked until the Sportsmedicine Team’s expansion into 125 local and regional rodeos.
Feller, who “rodeoed before sports medicine,” says the team can’t prevent a cowboy from getting hurt, but they can educate them about how to prevent injuries and can get the them back in the saddle again.
The Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund
Recognizing that serious injuries can be traumatic enough without the additional burden of financial worries, Justin partnered with the PRCA and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) to establish the Cowboy Crisis fund, which became a 501-C(3) a non-profit charity organization in 1991, and provides tangible help to rodeo athletes who are unable to compete. All the money raised goes directly to injured rodeo athletes, and over $8 million in need-based financial aid has been provided in the last three decades.
Things to Do in Fort Worth
Fort Worth is well known for it's western heritage thanks to popular retailers like Justin Boots and world-class attractions like the Fort Worth Herd's twice-daily cattle drive. The city's vibrant past is filled with tales of cowboys on cattle drives, outlaws like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and year-round rodeo action. Experience it all during your stay by exploring the Stockyards National Historic District, watching the Fort Worth Herd, following the Heritage Trail Makers or visiting one of the many museums dedicated to preserving/showcasing the American West. Make sure to stop by the Justin Boot Outlet as well.
Enjoy official NFR® events such as the Junior World Finals (Junior NFR®) – Dec. 3-12 at Cowtown Coliseum or the Cowboy Christmas Market Dec. 3-12 at the Fort Worth Convention Center (open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, free to public). The Pro Rodeo League of Women, one of the main fundraising arms for the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund, will have a luncheon at Billy Bob’s Texas on Thursday, Dec. 10, with all proceeds benefitting the Fund. The luncheon is a tribute to Charlie Daniels, the legendary singer/fiddler who was on the Justin Cowboy Crisis Fund’s Board of directors for several years. Lunch starts at 11:30 a.m. and you can find ticket information here.
Get ready to' cue up as barbecue restaurants abound in the Fort Worth area. Hurtado Barbecue in Arlington is a less than five miles from Globe Life Field. Derek Allan’s Texas BBQ, Panther City BBQ, Railhead Smokehouse, Heim Barbecue, Angelo’s BBQ, Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ, Riscky’s BBQ, Smoke-A-Holics and Jube’s Smokehouse all have their fans around here.
Mexican + Tex-Mex
There are so many Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in Fort Worth that it’s almost impossible to do this category justice, but we’ll try. El Gabacho Tex-Mex Grill is closest to Globe Life Field. Enchiladas Ole, Esperanza’s Restaurant and Bakery and big brother Joe T. Garcia’s, Los Vaqueros (on the Northside and near TCU) Mariachi’s Dine In, Salsa Limon (multiple locations), Paco’s Mexican Cuisine, La Playa Maya (multiple locations), Tinie’s, and Tacos Ernesto are good places to start. Some of the restaurants are cash-only so be prepared.
In Fort Worth, fancy means business casual or at least a shirt with a collar to go with your boots. Reata Restaurant, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine and Bonnell’s Waters Restaurant, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, B&B Butchers, Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, H3 Ranch, Provender Hall, Grace, Ellerbe Fine Foods and The Capital Grille are some of our best dress-up date night spots.