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The International Exposition and Livestock Show of 1928

March 15, 2012

It was advertised as the third largest livestock show ever held in the United States when it opened in San Antonio on March 3, 1928.  There had been numerous agricultural expositions in San Antonio, but none very big due to inadequate facilities.  The show was the brainchild of W. A. Wurzbach and his Exposition Association.  The group planned the event and prepared the site in less than five months.  Their primary accomplishment was the construction of the International Exposition Building, described as a “mammoth covered stadium.”

The show lasted for six days.  It opened with a Western parade that passed through downtown and on to the site at the end of E. Houston Street.  The exhibits, housed in 12 large tents, included every thoroughbred class of livestock.  Adjoining the exhibition areas was the large Rice-Dorman Carnival.  There were two daily rodeos, each with a different program.  Among the stars were Oklahoma Curly Roberts, Ruth Hoag, and Idaho resident Walter Heacock, who finally conquered the defiant black stallion named “King Tut.”  Each day of the event was dedicated to different regions of the State and one day for Mexico.

The Exposition Association planned the International Exposition as an annual event that would place San Antonio on the national circuit of fat stock shows.  But the final attendance figures were disappointing.  There was no show the following March, and the Stock Market crashed later that year.  The next large stock show was over 20 years later, in 1950, the beginning of the current San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

Esther Gentzer with one of the livestock entries. (MS 359: L-0873-A)


Entrance gate to the Exposition Grounds, later the site of the Freeman Coliseum and the AT&T Center. In order to eliminate traffic congestion, express buses ran from Alamo Plaza to the gate. (MS 362: 110-114)

Midway of the Rice-Dorman Carnival. (MS 362: 110-0118)

Ferd Staffel was among the local exhibitors (MS 362: 110-0123)

The International Exposition Arena. Completed only days before the exposition opening, the building burned to the ground three years later. (MS 359: L-1105-P)

Photographer promising visitors their photo in one minute. (MS 362: 110-0208)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Linda Schaal Mercer permalink
    March 24, 2012 7:52 am

    Very thrilled to see some of my Uncle’s work used here [1928 livestock exhibition].
    Tom Shelton, Senior Curator, was our point of contact and still is, as we find more of Albert Schaal’s old photos

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