Dressed in red aprons, the women of the Junior League of Fort Worth (JLFW) are set up in outrageously red decorated booths spread throughout the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo arena to call out to attendees. Their goal is to sell souvenir programs.
Programs have been sold by the JLFW for 60 years to raise money for Fort Worth charities, according to their website.
The programs are sold for three dollars a piece. One dollar goes back to the Junior League of Fort Worth, which is donated to the charities they support.
Souvenir programs include the event schedule for the entire stock show, a map of the area and a list of all the rodeo contestants, sponsors, and highlights from the past stock shows.
Rachel Manning, co-chair for the Junior League said they have implemented a new “yell and sell” strategy to attract the attention of rodeo attendees this year.
“Our new yell and sell logo is one of our biggest accomplishments with the stock show,” Manning said.
Manning leads the JLFW Program Sales Committee with other co-chair Jenna Sykes.
Sykes, a TCU alum, said she is proud to give back to her community and be a part of something bigger than herself.
“Being a co-chair of this committee is important to me because I love this community,” Sykes said. “The rodeo is such a fabrication of Fort Worth, and the definition of why Fort Worth is Cowtown.”
The local charities that JLFW donates to include: ACH Wellness Program, Catholic Charities, Easter Seals of North Texas, Fort Worth Drowning Prevention, Fortress Youth Development Center, Rivertree Academy, SafeHaven of Tarrant County, Tarrant Area Food Bank, Texas Ballet Theater, and YWCA.
“We support our charities in different capacities,” Manning said.
Manning said there are certain charities the organization is only able to donate money to. Others the junior league is able to donate money and volunteer their time. The junior league as a whole votes on the projects and determines which organizations will receive their donations.
Becky Delaune, director of community development at the Tarrant Area Food Bank and sustaining member of the JLFW, handles donations and works with volunteers that the junior league provides for the food bank.
“I learned most everything I know about working in the community from working through the junior league and through my membership there,” Delaune said. “It’s very fulfilling to see that money come back through.”
Delaune said that they spend the money they receive on general operating costs, programs to raise awareness about hunger in the community and other initiatives like a mobile pantry that the food bank operates every week.
She added that each dollar received from each program sold at the stock show and rodeo provides five meals for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. This year, the Junior League plans to give the food bank $20,000.
This would provide 100,000 meals across the Tarrant area, Delaune said.
Manning said their goal for this year is to sell 20,000 individual programs throughout the entire stock show.
“During the stock show, we actually get to see all of our hard work come to fruition,” Manning said. “We have a lot of fun, and also have a great bonding experience. All of these women apart of this committee, we are so very close and have a very competitive spirit. It makes us drive each other to reach our goals.”
Some attendants of the stock show and rodeo purchase programs in order to support the junior league and the local charities, while others buy them to follow along with the rodeo.
John Langston, a rodeo attendee bought a program and said he was happy to learn that he was also contributing to his local community.
“I did not know that buying a program gives back to the Fort Worth community, but I’m happy to do it,” Langston said. “The rodeo and stock show is a Fort Worth tradition, and we are happy to support it in any way we can.”