The Athens Review
The Fort Worth Stock Show's Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association show thrives on featuring a very traditional look and feel for fans.
But this year, during the 117th edition, organizers brought in a high-riding technological innovation called Score It!, which was part of the Stock Show's new smartphone application and allowed fans to become armchair rodeo judges.
Immediately after a bronc or bull ride, fans predicted the score on their cellphones. Their markings were averaged, and a fans' score was posted on an electronic screen in the Will Rogers Coliseum. Within seconds, the judges' score flashed on an adjacent screen.
During the Stock Show's Feb. 4 matinee performance, for example, saddle bronc riding fans predicted that 2008 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Dusty Hausauer would receive a score of 78. Then, he received a 77 from the judges.
But fans and judges were on the same page when two-time world champion Taos Muncy rode. Both sides scored Muncy a 74.
The Fort Worth Stock Show was the first PRCA competition to offer Score It! to fans.
One longtime fan who utilized Score It! was state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth. During each performance, he and several friends each put up a dollar and had a scoring contest.
“It's fun to see who gets the closest,” Geren said. “Rodeo needs to do this to increase audience participation.”
All this has come about when the Stock Show recently released its app on the iTunes and Android markets. The free app, complete with a list of upgraded functions, now features the Score It! menu option.
Cal White, who helped manage Score It!, said during Feb. 4 interview that an average of about 350 people per performance had participated. He said more than 500 have engaged in some of the two-hour shows.
“It's slowly building,” White said. “It's an educational process.”
Fans also were able to predict a competitor's time in the clocked competitions such as tie-down roping and steer wrestling, and fans could pull up information about the storied history of the Fort Worth rodeo and access pro competitors' biographies.
The Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough Series tour is scheduled to stop at Arlington’s Cowboys Stadium on March 2. For more information, visit www.pbr.com.
Houston Rodeo and Livestock update
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scheduled for Feb. 25-March 17. For more information, visit www.rodeohouston.com.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram over the past quarter century. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.