Skip to content

San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo: Photographs of the Inaugural Event in 1950

February 18, 2013

Each February over a million people visit the exposition grounds to see at least one of the many exhibits and performances during the annual livestock show and rodeo.  As far back as 1854, there have been a number of livestock shows and rodeos held in San Antonio.  Last year, the Top Shelf featured the large exhibition that was held in 1928.  But these were one-time events.   It wasn’t until the 1940s that Joe Freeman and others persuaded local residents to support the construction of facilities in which to hold an annual large-scale stock show and rodeo like those in Fort Worth and Houston.

The first exposition was an overwhelming success with over a quarter of a million visitors.  Opening day events on February 17, 1950 included a Western Day Parade led by Governor Allan Shivers, dedication of the new coliseum, and the Autry-Colborn Rodeo.

Local photographers began documenting the landmark event of 1950 even before the official opening.  The photographs below were taken by staff photographers from the San Antonio Light newspaper.  The Light photographers continued to photograph the stock show and rodeo each year until 1993, when the paper closed.  These images, numbering well over 1000, are included in the San Antonio Light Photograph Collection (MS 359).  Another large group of images, many of the livestock entries and their owners, are housed in the Zintgraff Studio Collection (MS 355).  Examples of these will be featured in a future blog.

Saddle bronc riding contest at rodeo staged by prominent rodeo producer Everett Colborn.   (MS 359: L-3913-H)

Saddle bronc riding contest at rodeo staged by prominent rodeo producer Everett Colborn. (MS 359: L-3913-H)

One of the prize-winners in the Hereford division at the boys’ fat steer show.   (MS 359: L-3913-H)

One of the prize-winners in the Hereford division at the boys’ fat steer show. (MS 359: L-3913-H)

Jersey dairy cattle show.   (MS 359: L-3915-D)

Jersey dairy cattle show. (MS 359: L-3915-D)

Auction sale in Coliseum arena.  (MS 359:  L-3911-C)

Auction sale in Coliseum arena. (MS 359: L-3911-C)

King Ranch representatives Dick Kleberg and father, Richard Kleberg, at the auction sale.  (MS 359:  L-3915-A)

King Ranch representatives Dick Kleberg and father, Richard Kleberg, at the auction sale. (MS 359: L-3915-A)

Ammie E. Wilson, from Plano, with champion Hampshire ewe.  (MS 359:  L-3914-A)

Ammie E. Wilson, from Plano, with her champion Hampshire ewe. (MS 359: L-3914-A)

Bull riding contest.  (MS 359:  L-3915-I)

Bull riding contest. (MS 359: L-3915-I)

Famous rodeo clowns Jack Kemp (left) and Jimmy Schumacher.  (MS 359: L-3913-C)

Famous rodeo clowns Jack Kemp (left) and Jimmy Schumacher. (MS 359: L-3913-C)

Lee and Byron Hendricks, “The Flying Twins,” perform an exhibition of Roman riding and jumping.  (MS 359:  L-3913-F)

Lee and Byron Hendricks, “The Flying Twins,” perform an exhibition of Roman riding and jumping.  (MS 359: L-3913-F)

Ann Hendricks, sister of The Flying Twins, on her dancing horse “King Richard.”  (MS359:  L-3913-A)

Ann Hendricks, sister of The Flying Twins, on her dancing horse “King Richard.” (MS359: L-3913-A)

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick Cooper permalink
    August 21, 2013 12:37 pm

    The Flying Twins belong in the hall of fame , they are legons in rodeos and Hollywood

    • chuck lyons permalink
      March 18, 2014 9:09 am

      I am a freelance writer trying to do a piece on the Hendricks family. Do you know where I can find some information about them?

      • Dan Hendricks permalink
        December 27, 2014 10:37 pm

        Contact me at horserace@sbcglobal.net

      • Anna Lee Hendricks permalink
        February 25, 2015 12:48 am

        Lee was my Father and Byron my uncle, feel free to contact me on face book or Annaleehendricks@yahoo.com Lee is still alive, turned 91 this year..Byron passed away as did my mom, Ann who was married to Lee , not their sister.

  2. ronnie Thomas permalink
    January 2, 2014 9:37 pm

    I couldn’t agree more, also well known on racetrack industry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: