Around the turn of the century a trade paper, reporting on the annual livestock show held at Kansas City, Mo., favorably compared the exhibition with the British Royal Livestock show and remarked, "The American Royal is coming." The title stuck and today the American Royal has become the nation's biggest horse show—and one totally unlike any other.
This year, at the 56th American Royal there were 860 entries in the saddle, harness and jumping events, 3,000 livestock entries and several daredevil professional acts thrown in. Prize money totaled $150,000, and 16 performances drew 138,303 spectators.
The huge crowds saw horsemanship in some of its finest moments. They were treated also to a glittering pageantry which befits the show's name so well. For the American Royal is every bit as bright as it is big, an ever-changing panorama of color, action and thrills. High point: the showing of the Western parade horses, where each animal was decked out with an average of $10,000 worth of saddle, silver and trimmings.
Gold crown flags of American Royal show fly with Stars and Stripes in Kansas City arena where eight-day event was held. Spectators saw a livestock show and kids' rodeo as well as contests for saddle horses and harness ponies (above).
December 13, 1954
Polished Mount Lola Genius, ridden by Nancy DeLong of Nebraska City, was third in three-gaited stake.
Majestic pose is made by chestnut mare Bugle Ann as it is shown by trainer Sug Utz in the $750 Mare-Gelding three-gaited stake.
Prize Herefords, each weighing a ton, were part of big livestock exhibition.
Stage hold-up re-enacted by the Rodeo Kids, a trick-riding juvenile act, was part of a two-hour show of skill and horsemanship in the Old West spirit.
Stampede start was made by Rodeo Kids in thrilling high-speed barrel race. Children in juvenile rodeo, which was started in Independence, Mo. 15 years ago, learn fundamentals of riding and handling horses, and range in age from four to 18 years.
Open-mouthed youngsters gave their full attention to awesome spectacle of color, action and thrills unfolding before them at the American Royal. Their favorite act was jumping white horses (below).
Flying albinos leaped over a jump in one of show's most spectacular acts. The albinos were mounts of an all-girl white-horse troupe, here ridden bareback by Elaine Kramer of Prairie du Chien, Wis.