The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo has grown to be one of the largest, most prestigious single events in the city of San Antonio, with approximately 1.3 million visitors entering the fairgrounds each year. The success of the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is attributed to over 6,000 volunteers who give countless hours to the organization. With community, donor, sponsor and volunteer support, the organization has committed more than $255 million since inception. Through scholarships, grants, endowments, junior livestock auctions, calf scramble program and show premiums the event impacts over 19,000 youth in Texas annually.
How The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo Started
In an emerging Texas cattle town, history was made when one of the first ever Texas Agricultural Fairs was held in San Antonio. In the following years, many other fairs and expositions came to San Antonio and all encountered a similar problem, inadequate facilities to accommodate their needs. It was evident South Texas was in dire need of facilities to serve as a showplace for a livestock exposition.
This cry for greater accommodations was heard in the early 1940s by Joe Freeman, the man who began the movement which eventually gave birth to the Joe and Harry Freeman Coliseum. Freeman's two prime interests were youth and the agricultural and livestock industries. His dream was to build a coliseum to be used for a number of events, but specifically, a livestock exposition for the youth of Texas. After assembling a number of volunteers, ranging from cattlemen to sports-minded citizens, the movement began to construct this multi-purpose coliseum. The years of gathering support and money paid off when construction began in January of 1948.