As one of the largest and oldest fall events in Kansas City, Missouri. The American Royal is home to annual livestock shows, judging competitions, the World’s largest barbecue contest, professional rodeos, and prestigious horse shows, according to the American Royal website.
“The [American] Royal is a show I look forward to every year, because it is so laid back,” said Cooper Sadowsky, a senior at North Harrison R-3 High School in Eagleville, Missouri.
Sadowsky is an annual exhibitor at the livestock show. She has shown registered Angus cattle for several years with her family at the American Royal.
“It allows you to catch up with friends and your show family from across the country,” Sadowsky said “Yet it still retains a competitive spirit because of the quality and caliber of livestock that is exhibited.”
The American Royal record book says it all started more than 100 years ago in 1899, when more than 55,000 people gathered for the National Hereford Show at the Kansas City Stockyards. In 1902, the official name “American Royal” was adopted after several other cattle breeds entered into the annual show. The Kansas City Stockyard suffered a great loss in 1917 when a fire caused an estimated $1,175,000 in livestock loss and building damage.
In 1924 the show opened up to cats, dogs, mule pulling teams, horse shows, and Pet Stock Show — in addition to cattle and horses. After two World Wars the American Royal had it largest attendance in history in 1946, with more than 4,000 animals entered in the livestock shows.
Barbecue came to the Royal in 1980 when the first contest was held, ending the restriction of American Royal to just livestock. Within just eight years, the competition expanded into the “World’s Largest BBQ Contest” in 1998 with more than 340 teams who participated.
The Royal also supports education and civic efforts. In 2011, the Royal donated $1.4 million dollars in educational tours, tools, and programs. The Harvesters Community Food Network collected nearly 5,000 pounds of barbecued meat and 987 pounds of other food drive items, the largest donation in history.
Today the American Royal is a not-for-profit organization that brings people together through education, livestock shows, social events, and a variety of contests.
The American Royal season is in full swing now. The World Series of BBQ wrapped up earlier in October, the Livestock Show opened Oct. 22 and runs through Nov. 2. Whether you like to eat or watch your food on foot in the show rings, the American Royal has fun events for everyone.