“Let’s Go! Let’s Show! Let’s Rodeo!” These are proverbial words that kick off Fort Worth Country Day’s Kindergarten Rodeo! Even a pandemic school year cannot keep the cowboys and cowgirls down! The 52nd FWCD K-Rodeo, as it is affectionately known, kicked off on Wednesday, April 28, with a special showing for the Class of 2021, followed by a parent viewing on Thursday, April 29.
This time-honored tradition allows FWCD’s kindergarteners — 75 of them this year — to show their leadership skills as they dress up in their western gear to perform a reenactment of the Fort Worth Rodeo. Riding stick horses; dressing up as colorful rodeo clowns; and cavorting as cows, calves and steers, the kindergarteners took over the Sid W.Richardson Round Gym for their performances. The event typically coincides with the students’ studies on the Lone Star State and with the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo in January to truly bring Old West studies to life.
Over the years, the K-Rodeo has evolved to be more and more authentic. It is not only a beloved tradition for the students but also for the kindergarten teachers, students of all ages and alumni. Sharing this performance with the seniors completes their circle of life at Fort Worth Country Day. It is a sweet remembrance as they begin to look ahead to life outside the gates of FWCD. Read more at The History of the Kindergarten Rodeo.
The event is elaborate, beginning with a Grand Entry performance and the “Star-Spangled Banner.” During the nearly 40-minute production, students show their skills in traditional rodeo events, such as bareback bronc riding, the calf scramble, trick roping, bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and more.
Dan Bloch H’06, former Middle School Science Teacher, returned to campus for only the second time since retiring to play the banjo — a role he embraced at the very first Kindergarten Rodeo in 1969 when he began as an FWCD teacher. “It was the banjo that got me involved with the Kindergarten Rodeo all those years ago,” Bloch said. “MelindaMiller [former FWCD teacher] saw me playing for my class one day and asked if I would accompany the kindergarten for ‘Deep in the Heart of Texas’ for that first rodeo.
“Who knew in 1969 that the students would be performing in the Kindergarten Rodeo 52 years later?” he continued. “Mrs. Miller’s idea has become a unique and treasured part of Country Day life.” On its 45th anniversary, the Kindergarten Rodeo was recognized for its ingenuity and longevity by the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show. To commemorate the K-Rodeo’s 50-year milestone, FWCD and the rodeo were presented with a proclamation from the Office of Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.
For all students, the roles played in the rodeo have significant meaning. In some cases, the roles are a family legacy, as many FWCD parents who are alumni have kindergarteners who perform the very same role that their parents did all those years ago. For new families, K-Rodeo is the just start of their memorable School journey. Together, all the students discover that in Kindergarten Rodeo, they become part of an unforgettable tradition that is uniquely Fort Worth Country Day.
Fort Worth Country Day (FWCD) is a JK-12 private, independent, coeducational, nondenominational college-preparatory school located on approximately 100 acres in Fort Worth, Texas. The mission of Fort Worth Country Day School is to foster the intellectual, physical, emotional, and ethical development of capable students through an academically rigorous college preparatory program that integrates the arts and athletics.