This weekend, Fort Worth residents will celebrate three things: football, fishing, and fast cars. From the premiere of the “12 Mighty Orphans” movie to the Bassmaster Classic and the NASCAR All-Star Race, there will be no shortage of activities for everyone. If you want to maximize your excitement, here is a guide to experiencing everything in just three short days.
First, you’ll want to spend some time in a dark movie theater learning about a slice of Fort Worth history. The movie “12 Mighty Orphans” tells the true story of the Mighty Mites, a scrawny high school football team of children from an orphanage in Fort Worth. With mismatched jerseys and battered helmets, the team went from not even having a football to practice with to reaching the Texas state championship. The team’s success story provided light and hope for Fort Worth residents during the Great Depression, and years later provided inspiration for sports writer Jim Dent to write a book about the team. This book, “Twelve Mighty Orphans,” inspired the movie.
Catch an early screening of the film at a Fort Worth movie theater on Friday night to kick off your weekend. Ticket information is available here.
If the early bird catches the worm, the early riser could catch a take-off of the Bassmaster Classic. The Bassmaster Classic is considered the “Super Bowl of Bass Fishing,” where anglers catch fish in an attempt to land a trophy and $300,000. After three days of fishing, the angler with the highest total weight wins (and don’t worry, fish are caught under catch-and-release rules and returned to Lake Ray Roberts after the weigh-ins). The event can be viewed on Fox Network, but Fort Worth residents can head out to Ray Roberts Lake State Park in the morning to see the anglers announced and sent off in their boats. Spectators are welcome, and the event is free.
The Bassmaster Classic also includes a huge Outdoors Expo at Will Rogers Memorial Center that will feature around 200 vendors selling everything you could dream of related to fishing, hunting, camping, and more. A special setup called the “Go Out(side) Experience” will offer free activities for kids such as inflatable archery, cornhole, knot tying, and even a catfish pond where kids can catch their first fish.
The anglers’ goal is to catch a group of fish that is heavier than that of their competition. You can watch these weigh-ins at Dickies Arena — doors open at 3:15 p.m. The show includes the anglers, their boats, their fish, and fun giveaways.
Head over to Ray Roberts Lake State Park at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday to see the anglers announced and watch the boats head out to their competition spots, then tune in to Fox Network to watch the anglers reel in big fish. After viewing the competition, drive over to Will Rogers Memorial Center and shop at the Expo before heading to Dickies Arena to view a weigh-in. More information is available at bassmaster.com.
Sunday: Fast Cars
Having been inspired by the football prowess in “12 Mighty Orphans” and amazed by the bass fishing at the Bassmaster Classic, Sunday is reserved for the final “F”: fast cars. Sunday holds the exciting NASCAR All-Star Race, a race between previous winners and NASCAR Cup Series champions. This year is the first time the race will take place at Texas Motor Speedway, bringing with it all sorts of fun experiences.
Head down to the Stockyards at 11:30 a.m. to catch the NASCAR All-Star Parade immediately following the Fort Worth Herd Cattle Drive. The parade will feature NASCAR stock cars, Texas Motor Speedway pace cars, and Wild Asphalt Circus vehicles, and will be led by Visit Fort Worth president and CEO Bob Jameson and Texas Motor Speedway president and general manager Eddie Gossage.
After the parade, hang out on the Livestock Exchange Building lawn to get your fill of not just food and drink, but live music, yard games, and giveaways. Check out the vehicles on display next door in the Horseshoe Parking Lot.
Over at Texas Motor Speedway, the race begins at 5 p.m., but be sure to get there early (or stay late) to explore the All-Star Texas Midway for carnival rides, games, and food.
Tickets for the All-Star Race and additional information can be found at texasmotorspeedway.com.