National Western ready to roll

Rodeo, livestock judging, special events come to Denver

The rider guides the horses through a ring of fire during the Wild West Show at a recent year’s National Western Stock Show. The National Western opens Jan. 11 for its 2014 run and will include livestock judging and sales, rodeos and the Wild West Show that is patterned after the shows put on by Buffalo Bill Cody.
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Pro football’s biggest game is in February, but the National Western Stock Show, billed as the “Super Bowl of Livestock Shows and Sales,” comes to Denver Jan. 11-26.
There are judging competitions for horses, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, bison, yaks, poultry and rabbits. Since space is fairly limited, animals are constantly moving in and out of the complex so that more than 15,000 head of livestock can take part in the judging competitions and sales
In addition to the livestock judging competitions, there also are numerous livestock sales where millions of dollars change hands as thousands of animals are sold to new owners.
While livestock activities go on almost constantly, the stock show’s daily schedule also may include rodeos, displays and entertainment. The fact there is something for almost everyone attracts hundreds of thousands of men, women and children through the turnstiles. Last year’s attendance was more the 628,000.
The multitude of livestock judging and sales plus more than 50 special events are held at a variety of locations. While the rodeo performances are in the held in the Denver Coliseum, the majority of livestock show and sale activities plus some special events like Super Dogs are centered at the National Western Stock Show Arena and the pens in the nearby stockyards.
The 16-day run of the National Western Stock Show is Colorado’s largest trade show with more than 350 vendors scheduled to be on the grounds this year. Many of the vendors will be located in the three-level Hall of Education near 46th Avenue.
Another venue is the Events Center and Paddock located at the north end of the National Western complex. These venues are the location for most horse show events and specialty acts like a Night of Dancing Horses and the Wild West show.
Parking if free but a general admission ticket is required to get into the stock show. The ticket entitles the holder to visit the trade show, displays, stock shows and auctions.
Ticket prices vary from $13 to $19 for an.
Tickets for children 3 to 11 years old are $2 to $3, depending on the day. Children under 3 get in free.
The general admission ticket also is good for visits to the Children’s Ranchland and petting farm are open daily on the third floor of the Expo Hall.
In addition, there are a variety of activities at the new Ames Activity Pavilion including stick horse rodeos, kids pedal-tractor pulls, horseshoe pitching and dummy roping contests. The pavilion is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the daily activity lists are posted on the website, www.nationalwestern.com, where you can also find out more about ticket prices.
There about 50 special events that require admission tickets that range in price from $8 to $100 each. Each ticket includes a National Western admission ticket.
Among the events on the entertainment schedule are two Mexican Rodeo Extravaganzas, three Professional Bull Riders events, two Wild West shows, the Grand Prix horse jumping show, two SuperDogs shows and the Martin Luther King Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo.
There are also 23 rodeo performances during first stop of the year for members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Each performance will include a full schedule of traditional rodeo competitions plus there will be specialty acts booked to perform during breaks between rodeo events.
At the other end of the National Western complex, the Events Center will be equally busy as the site of equestrian events that include daily schedule of riding and performance competitions.
The Events Center is also the site of the Wild West Show, an event fashioned after the turn-of-the-century performances produced by Buffalo Bill Cody and other specialty events

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