Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo
If they awarded ribbons for safety, Russ Grunewald would win Best in Show.
Russ is the Chairman of the Safety Committee for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. He’s been walking the grounds here for the past 25 years.
“We’re out looking for maintenance problems, making sure there are no tripping hazards, seeing that the clean-up crew is doing the job correctly so they don’t get hurt,” Russ said. “We might have 150,000 people here if it’s a nice day on a weekend and you have to be ready for anything. But we’re watching out for the employees as much as the visitors.”
As the show’s workers’ compensation provider, Texas Mutual Insurance Company knows that having someone with Russ’ experience in charge of safety is a real asset. It’s a big job — but he’s done big jobs before.
“I got my wings in 1952, flew fighters over Korea. The Air Force sent me to safety management school and I became Chief of Safety at base level. After that, I was Chief of Flying Safety for Strategic Air Command, then went to Guam as Director of Safety for the Air Force in the Pacific,” said Russ.
When he retired from the military, Russ took a job as safety director for a grocery store chain in Fort Worth. Later, he helped establish the safety office at the University of Texas at Arlington. He started with the stock show during the 1994-1995 season and has become a fixture in their safety program ever since.
“We’ve brought in professionals. Some are EMTs and paramedics, some from corporate safety. They have that kind of background,” said Matt Brockman, the show’s Communications Manager. “And Russ has led that committee and established the protocols and procedures that they have utilized to patrol the grounds on a daily basis, on a schedule, and ensured that safety hazards are identified and dealt with.”
Now 90, Russ has spent a lifetime keeping people safe. He enjoys his work, likes the show’s atmosphere and has made many friends here.
“I talk to the vendors, shoot the breeze. It’s a good way to find out if anything’s wrong so we can take care of it,” said Russ.
While his background as a pilot and safety professional has kept him busy, Russ has developed other interests over the years. He’s got a 1926 Model T Ford and a 1930 Model A Ford that he takes to vintage car shows. And while he’s not sure how long he’ll continue to work the stock show, he knows he’ll always be a fan.
“I was a city boy in the ‘40s, and during the summer, I’d be working on a ranch in Mason County,” he said. “I just like the farm and ranch feeling that you get when you’re here."
At Texas Mutual, we’re proud to be on the job with Russ Grunewald. He’s just one of the 1.5 million Texas workers we cover every day of the year. Doing more to protect employees is just one of the ways we’re changing the way workers’ comp works for you. If you’d like to learn about our safety programs for employers, visit our safety training page.
Since 2019, we’ve been featuring the stories of our policyholders, like you, and their employees. We’re proud to highlight these Texans who share a commitment to safety and are doing meaningful work. Get to know more hard-working Texans across the state.