Last week I also participated in a training program to be a Certified Tourism Ambassador or CTA. The class was held in Fort Worth, TX at the historic Stockyards in the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. I have wanted to visit the Stockyards for a few months now but haven’t made it until now.
The Stockyards in Fort Worth was the busiest market for cattle and livestock in the history of the west. Fort Worth was the last stop on the Chisholm Trail for supplies and civilization before crossing into Indian Territory in Oklahoma. At one time they were considered “The Wall Street of the West.”
The area has now become a destination to learn and experience all things cowboy with lots of museums, shops, restaurants and saloons, the world’s largest honky tonk – Billy Bob’s, and a twice-daily demonstration of droving with The Herd.
The Herd is a fun thing to see. Every day at 11:30 and 4:00, a herd of Texas longhorns is driven right down the road in the Stockyards. My CTA class was done just before the afternoon event, so I got my camera from the car and waited excitedly. You can watch just inches from the horns of these magnificent cattle on the sidewalk as they meander down their cobblestone path. Although they seem quite docile, I sure wouldn’t want to get in a tussle with one of them.
I need to go back to the Stockyards and visit Billy Bob’s and explore some of the museums. The class was interesting, but basically followed the study materials everyone was to read and exercises to be completed before the class. After the class you take a test and then wait to see if you passed and can receive the CTA designation. I am still waiting, but hopefully I will find out soon.
I’ve lived in the DFW area almost my whole life and went to four years of school in Fort Worth and didn’t even know this event happened. It makes me want to see what else is happening right under my nose that could be an exciting adventure, something that people from all over the world would be excited to experience. Go check your local attractions to see if something has been happening you didn’t know about. It will be a fun adventure for you, your family and friends. You will also be more knowledgeable when someone asks you what there is to do where you live.
If you live in NYC, visit the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island, the Theodore Roosevelt birthplace. If you live mere hours away from a national park, spend a day and go explore; there are several fee-free days throughout the year. If you live in D.C., go investigate all of the exhibits at the Smithsonian museums. They’re free! If you live in DFW, visit the Stockyards and delve into the roots of the region.
My point? Get to know about your community. Don’t let the treasures you have near you be just for the tourists. Adventure is out there; go have one!