FORT WORTH, Texas – When Don Weeks and Frank Neve founded the Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate in 1980, they never envisioned what it would become over the next 35 years. And who could blame them?
“It’s mind boggling,” said Neve, whose initial small group of businessmen raised $20,000 for youth exhibitors at the 1980 Fort Worth Stock Show’s Junior Sale of Champions.
That generous giving proved to be only the beginning. Since that time, the Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate, the single largest financial supporter of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, has raised more than $41.5 million and helped more than 8,000 young people pursue their agricultural goals.
The Syndicate has surpassed the $3 million mark each of the past two years, with a record $3.3 million handed out in 2014. Remarkably, every dollar goes to the children who raised the award-winning animals. Last year’s Grand Champion Steer of the Show fetched $200,000, while the Reserve Grand Champion sold for $140,000.
“We just started out by having fun,” Weeks said. “And then every succeeding chairman lived up to the next challenge. It’s just a thrill to see what an awesome job the organization has done for these kids. It’s amazing.”
The Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate, now more than 100 volunteers strong, was recognized by the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo at Tuesday night’s rodeo to commemorate its 35th anniversary. The occasion brought all 14 living past chairmen, as well as its sitting chairman, together for the first time ever.
“These men led the organization and created an engine for a meaningful philanthropic mission,” current chairman Scott Prince said. “We are so thankful to the Stock Show & Rodeo for the tremendous opportunity we had to celebrate our heritage and the future of the Stock Show Syndicate.”
In addition to founders Weeks and Neve, the other 12 past chairmen honored included Joe Monteleone, Terry Dallas, Scott Corpening, Bill Ratliff, Gary Ray, John McMichael, Bob Merrill, Fln Neve, Bob Akin, Bill Poteet, Howard Pena and Larry Anfin.
Besides its generous giving at the Sale of Champions, the group also will donate $200,000, in the form of 20 $10,000 scholarships, to deserving youth through Texas’ 4-H and FFA programs. The total amount of money raised for the James M. “Jim Bob” Norman Scholarship is more than $1 million since its inception in 1984.
“Last night was a great tribute to the leaders who created an organization that stays true to its mission of supporting kids in agriculture,” Monteleone, the current Vice Chairman of Scholarship, said. “It was a fun reunion of the past chairmen, but also a celebration of the current members and leadership.”
The 2015 Sale of Champions, the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work from all parties, will take place Saturday at 9 a.m. at the West Arena.
FORT WORTH, Texas – The Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate, the single largest financial supporter of the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, is celebrating a special anniversary this year, its 35th. After a record-setting contribution at the 2014 Junior Sale of Champions last February, things are once again steering in the right direction.
At the organization’s final meeting on Jan. 15, the FWSSSS had 354 steer commitments, the largest total ever recorded with more than three weeks until the Sale of Champions. And the hard work is far from over.
So could the special number 35, translate into $3.5 million this year? It’s not out of the realm of possibility after the Fort Worth Stock Show Syndicate raised $3.3 million last year, with every dollar going to the children who raised the award-winning animals.
“I’m anticipating another banner year,” Vice Chairman of Sponsorship Trey Gordon said. “We don’t necessarily set goals because we know that everything we do is to go to help those kids. Whatever we do is going to be a great benefit to all of them who are involved.”
Since its founding in 1980, the numbers are staggering. Overall, the FWSSS has raised more than $41.5 million for the youth exhibitors and has topped the $3 million mark each of the past two years. Last year’s Grand Champion fetched $200,000, while the Reserve Grand Champion sold for $140,000.
Chairman Scott Prince, who joined the Syndicate in 2002 and has been a member of the group’s leadership team for the past eight years, is thrilled to be a part of 2015.
“Our 35th anniversary just means so much to so many people who have been involved over the years,” Prince said. “Our members have truly done an outstanding job carrying on the mission set by our founders. We’re proud to be continuing our tremendous growth and are extremely grateful for our ever-expanding sponsor base.”
The 2015 Sale of Champions, the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work from the Syndicate’s more than 100 members and of countless hours by the youth exhibitors, will take place on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 9 a.m. at the West Arena.
“The sale is very exciting,” Prince said. “There’s a lot of energy in the room. It’s a packed house every year, and I fully expect that it’ll be a record turnout again this year.”
The excitement for the annual Sale of Champions begins that Friday afternoon when the Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion are selected at the Junior Steer Show in Watt Arena. The anticipation continues Saturday morning when Syndicate members, having spent all night preparing the food, hosts an early-morning breakfast for its sponsors at Casa Manana prior to the start of the auction.
In addition to its generous giving at the Sale of Champions, the group also will donate $200,000, in the form of 20 $10,000 scholarships, to deserving youth through Texas’ 4-H and FFA programs. That yearly number doubled this year, pushing the total amount of money raised for the James M. “Jim Bob” Norman Scholarship to more than $1 million since its inception in 1984.