Billy Bob's Texas Celebrates 30 Years in Fort Worth

EntertainmentGary AllanAlan JacksonPoliticsGeorge StraitElections

Friday is the big 3-0 for Billy Bob's Texas at the Fort Worth stockyards. They're having such a big party, it started Thursday.

Billy Bob Barnett opened this bar on April 1st, 1981. Pam Minick, the marketing director, says Barnett picked that date so if he didn't get it done, he could just say 'April Fools.'

But, he did make it, and he made it into a smash hit.

"If they're a young and upcoming entertainer, they know that playing Billy Bob's Texas is a must on their resume," said Minick.

The bar's seen performances by some of country music's biggest names: Alan Jackson, Clint Black, and Janie Fricke, just to name a few. George Strait used to be the house band.

"If the walls could talk, it would be just one story after another," said Minick.

Thursday night, Billy Bob's Texas was honored with proclamations by the mayor and the governor, and congresswoman Kay Granger.

dozens of old friends showed up to honor the self-proclaimed 'world's largest honky tonk.'

"The building was actually built in 1910 as an open-air cattle barn, so it's 127,000 square feet," said Minick.

"I'm surprised at how big it is, and all the things that are in here," said Bill Lashley, who was visiting from St. Louis.

Not much has changed in the past three decades,

"It's kind of like, if it ain't broke, don't fix it," joked Minick.

Now, a new leader is taking over.

"Our son is taking over as president, and he's kind of a progressive thinker," said Minick.

You'll likely see an upgraded showroom, with VIP and skyboxes, but one thing won't change.

"I promise you, the number one thing that makes Billy Bob's is there's no substitution for live entertainment, and we will continue to be a premiere live music venue," said Minick.

"There's just a lot to see, and you don't see anything like this anywhere else," said Debbie Sealock, who brought her brother and his wife to see the bar.

The owners planned a VIP celebration for Thursday, because they're expecting a sold-out show Friday night. For the official, 30-year celebration, Gary Allan will be performing.

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