Our History

OldColiseumShotThe Cowtown Coliseum project was started in 1907 and completed in 1908, at a cost of $250,000.

TeddyRooseveltIt was said at the time that, “Texas will have at Fort Worth the largest, most elegant, and perfectly appointed livestock exhibition building in the South and without superior in the United States.” The Cowtown Coliseum was the first indoor coliseum in the United States and has been the site of a number of firsts*:

  • 1908 – First Exhibition Round-up of Cattle ever held under a roof in the United States
  • 1908 – First Night Horse Show in the United States
  • 1918 – World’s First Indoor Rodeo
  • Enrico Caruso1923 – World’s First Live Radio Broadcast of a Rodeo
  • 1934 – Bull Riding Introduced to the word of Rodeo
  • 1909 – Chief Quanah Parker appeared with 36 Comanche braves
  • 1911 – Theodore Roosevelt addressed 5,000
  • 1916 – Russian Ballet Performed
  • 1918 – Jess Willard fought an exhibition match
  • 1918 & 1919 – Billy Sunday held six week revivals
  • 1919 – Chicago Grand Opera performed
  • 1920 – Enrico Caruso sang to 8,000
  • 1947 – Bob Wills performed
  • Elvis-pics1956 – Elvis Presley performed for 7,000
  • 1979 – President Jimmy Carter appeared

The Cowtown Coliseum was the original home of the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and served as the cultural center for Fort Worth. Everyone from Presidents to the Russian BobHopeBallet have appeared in the building’s hallowed halls.

The Cowtown Coliseum has also been the location of numerous movies, television shows and music videos. George Strait and Billy Dean have filmed music videos here at the Coliseum. Movies with scenes filmed at the Coliseum have included Dennis Quaid in “Tough Enough” and George Strait in “Pure Country”. The CBS TV Show “Walker Texas Ranger” with Chuck Norris has also filmed scenes in and around the Coliseum.

BobWillsPosterRed Steagall Bronc RiderThe Cowtown Coliseum located in the heart of the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District has a rich history steeped in Rodeo and the West. In 1986 the Cowtown Coliseum was totally refurbished and brought up to modern day standards including heating and air conditioning systems.



*To see the entire timeline of the Coliseum, click here.

Get in touch

Cowtown Coliseum -- Fort Worth Stockyards - 121 E.Exchange Ave. Fort Worth. TX - 1-888-COWTOWN