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Billy Bob's Texas is a popular country & western nightclub in the Fort Worth Stockyards, Texas, United States. It promotes itself as "The World's Largest Honky Tonk" with 127,000 square feet (12,000 m²). Billy Bob's opened April 1, 1981 to national attention with Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers as the first performers. Other artists who appeared that first week were Waylon Jennings, Janie Fricke and Willie Nelson. Since, artists such as Pat Green have carried on the tradition. In addition to several dance floors, musical stages, arcade games, and billiards tables, Billy Bob's is the home to a small indoor rodeo arena, in which they have weekend bullriding events.
Built as a cattle barn in the early 1900s, the building was enclosed as a City of Fort Worth Centennial project in 1936. With sloped floors for easy cleaning due to the cattle pens, the building also had the perfect setting for a concert venue. That would have to wait nearly 40 years. During that gap, the building was used as an AT-10 airplane manufacturing plant and a department store. Clark’s Department Store was so large that the stock boys had to wear roller skates.
But on April 1, 1981, Billy Bob Barnett opened what is now internationally known as “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk”. With a capacity over 6,000 people, over 20 bar stations, the best in entertainment and live bullriding, it was not long before Billy Bob’s Texas won the first of its five Academy of Country Music’s “Club of the Year” awards. BBT has also been awarded the Country Music Association’s “Club of the Year” twice.
The nightclub quickly entered the public consciousness in the early 1980s with frequent references by the Ewing Clan on the soap opera Dallas. It was also featured prominently during CBS's New Year's Eve coverage, "Happy New Year America", during this period.
Artists who were virtually unknown have received their big break at BBT, including George Strait, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire and Travis Tritt. Many of them played in house bands, which perform every Wednesday through Saturday night on one of BBT’s two stages. And even though BBT is known for its hot, country music, they have also hosted some of the biggest acts around, including Bob Hope, B.B. King, James Brown, Men at Work, The Go-Go's, Styx, ZZ Top, Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Heart and Pat Benatar. Also on that list is Ted Nugent, who holds the one-day bar record at BBT. Hank Williams, Jr. holds the record for number of bottled beers sold with 16,000.
BBT also features our Celebrity Wall, which shows concrete handprint impressions of the biggest stars ever to grace the stage here. Garth Brooks, Pat Green, Ringo Starr, George Thorogood, Peter Frampton, Conway Twitty, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Dottie West.
Guests can also take home some of the best and brightest entertainers with the “Live at Billy Bob’s Texas” CD and DVD collection. Available in the gift store along with national retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and others, artists include Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Pat Green, Cross Canadian Ragweed and more.
Along with big-time concerts, BBT has live bull riding every Friday and Saturday night. There has never been a mechanical bull in Billy Bob’s but you will find some of the best up-and-coming riders in the country. These pro bull riders compete for cash prizes each weekend at 9pm and 10pm. Admission for each show is just $3.00.
Billy Bob's Texas has also been host to many movie and television projects. Baja Oklahoma (Willie Nelson, Susan Sarandon), Over the Top (Sylvester Stallone), and Necessary Roughness (Scott Bakula, Sinbad) have all been filmed there. BBT has also hosted Walker, Texas Ranger, Dallas, CBS Happy New Year America, CBS This Morning, QVC and FX. Even the mirrored saddle above the Honky Tonk Dance Floor is from the movie Rhinestone, featuring Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone. Also, the bathroom scene where Leslie Ann Waren talks to the band in George Strait's movie Pure Country, was also filmed at BBT.
Professional wrestling was also held here in the mid to late 1980s.
Since 1999, the Smith Music Group, a music publishing company in Fort Worth, Texas has issued a continuing series of live albums recorded by major country music artists at Billy Bob's. The albums are titled Live at Billy Bob's Texas, with a few exceptions. The list is currently over thirty performances. Artists so far have included:
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