will rogers memorial center

Will Rogers Memorial Center Promotes New Events Manager

Throughout the year Will Rogers Memorial Center is home to many premier equestrian events including the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity, the National Reined Cow Horse Association Worlds Greatest Horseman, and will host the Cowtown Reining Classic in 2023.

Christopher J. Roden has been promoted to Senior Public Events Manager (Operations Manager) for the Will Rogers Memorial Center (WRMC), the 120-acre entertainment, sports, equestrian and livestock complex in Fort Worth’s Cultural District. 

Roden has steadily increased his responsibilities in the City of Fort Worth’s Public Events Department, beginning work as an entry-level service attendant in 2014. Over the years, he was promoted to field operations supervisor and served as interim Operations Manager during the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, he led the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) initiative for Will Rogers and served as Deputy Incident Commander during the overflow homeless shelter operations at the Fort Worth Convention Center. 

“Chris Roden is a stellar example of how a motivated employee can propel their career by taking on new challenges,” said Mike Crum, director of Public Events. “He has proven himself to be a servant leader that our team looks to for personal inspiration as well as professional direction.” 

The WRMC complex is operational 24/7 year-round, with the exception of Christmas Day. 

“Will Rogers is a unique venue with multiple events and various types of shows running concurrently, which requires logistical expertise and staff leadership,” said Kevin Kemp, General Manager of WRMC. “Chris tackles every project we task him with and always excels.” 

Roden has been in hospitality in some form since he was 14 years old, he said. He has been employed in food and beverage service roles as well as owned a few small businesses. His goal for WRMC is to build a culture of continuous improvement. 

“I like analyzing puzzles and finding solutions,” Roden said. “With technology, evaluation and training, we can create innovative solutions and a better experience for staff, clients, guests and partners.” 

A WW II history and a baseball buff, Roden holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from Texas Christian University and will complete his Master’s in Public Administration from Tarleton State University later this year. He is also a graduate of the IAVM Venue Management School and has a Lean Yellow Belt Certification. He is a Fort Worth native and graduate of South Hills High School.