Texas icon Billy Bob Barnett has been an instrumental figure in many diverse industries in the Lone Star State. Through his work in the entertainment industry, the beverage industry, and historic preservation, Barnett has made a mark on the Fort Worth area and in the state of Texas as a whole.
Barnett has achieved success in other areas as well, including business consulting and legislative work. Sharing his unique and wide-ranging experience with business partners, he has been able to encourage other companies to share in his good fortune.
Billy Bob’s Texas
While Barnett is no longer involved in Billy Bob’s Texas, the business owes a great deal of success to its early years in the 1980s under his ownership. Together with business partner Spencer Taylor, Barnett renovated a 100,000 square foot facility in the Fort Worth Stockyards that had been used as an open-air cattle barn and department store at various points in history. This facility became Billy Bob’s Texas in 1981.
The nightclub attracts musical talent from the worlds of country and classic rock. With entertainment every night and live bull riding, Billy Bob’s is a vibrant Texas experience that helps tourists feel welcome in the area.
Billy Bob Barnett was inducted into the Texas Trail of Fame in 2017 and has his star in the sidewalk next to the front entrance of Billy Bob’s Texas.
The Fort Worth Stockyards
Since his major business venture was located in the Stockyards, Billy Bob Barnett became interested in preserving the district’s historic character and protecting buildings from being razed. His first action was purchasing the Stockyards district from a New York developer in 1983, returning the area to Texas ownership.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Barnett worked to make sure that the Fort Worth Stockyards would be preserved. He eventually helped the Stockyards receive $100 million in public funding to support its preservation and restoration.
Today, the Stockyards remain a popular tourist attraction and an area where locals also like to shop and dine. The Stockyards are currently undergoing a renaissance with the restoration of the Horse and Mule Barns and the introduction of dozens of new shops and restaurants as well as another hotel.
Today, visitors to the Stockyards can enjoy a twice-daily cattle drive with the beautiful Texas longhorns, the only cattle drive of its kind in the United States.
As a business leader, Barnett has been instrumental in bringing several types of legislative initiatives into play. He helped to bring greyhound and horse racing back to the Lone Star State, gaining $5.5 billion in local revenue and 36,000 jobs statewide. Horse and dog racing are part of the historic character of Texas, and Barnett believed it was important to bring it back.
Success in the Beverage Industry
Barnett owned a Miller Beer distributorship in the 1970s and early 1980s. During his tenure as a Miller distributor, he introduced the long neck beer bottle and the 7-ounce beer bottle. These helped to popularize Miller Beer, especially Miller Lite. In 1980, Barnett sold his stake in the local distributorship for a significant profit.
Barnett also helped to legalize local option liquor by the drink in Addison, Texas. In Texas, statewide liquor laws apply but jurisdictions like cities and counties can decide what types of liquor are allowed for purchase. Barnett’s work helped to retain consumer choice in the city of Addison.
With his expertise in the gaming, entertainment, and racing industries, Billy Bob Barnett has been able to offer help to many businesses around the country. His work with Las Vegas casinos Circus Circus and Caesars Palace helped to revitalize their businesses.
He was involved with the development of the Toyota Music Factory in Irving, Texas, helping the city pass critical legislation that assured their success and capitalized on their destination to draw business to the area. The Toyota Music Factory features musical acts from a wide variety of genres, including rock, country, and classic rock.
The Music Factory is also the centerpiece of a local development filled with shops, restaurants, and bars. Local residents as well as tourists are drawn to Irving thanks to the success of this venue.
Understanding Billy Bob Barnett’s Impact
Barnett has been a prominent figure in local business for decades. Since he has been involved in diverse industries and preservation activities, he has an active understanding of the pressures that Texas businesses feel every day.
Barnett’s efforts to support Texas businesses have made him a leader in the community. His success has been driven by a series of smart purchases and leveraging his assets to help the Fort Worth area.
Billy Bob Barnett has been an important part of Texas’ business community, especially where the Fort Worth Stockyards are concerned. The federal designation of the National Historic Area will continue to impact Texas residents and businesses well into the future.