National Western brings cultural heritage to Colorado

Signature Colorado event continues through more than two weeks of fun

Posted 12/31/18

Again this year, many Colorado residents are gearing up for their participation in the National Western Stock Show. The annual event is billed as one of the premier livestock shows, horse shows and …

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National Western brings cultural heritage to Colorado

Signature Colorado event continues through more than two weeks of fun

Posted

Again this year, many Colorado residents are gearing up for their participation in the National Western Stock Show.

The annual event is billed as one of the premier livestock shows, horse shows and rodeos in the nation.

It has been 113 years since the first National Western was held. Angus and breeding cattle begin their scheduled arrivals at the complex Jan. 8. Activities pick up starting Jan. 10 and the schedule of events wraps up Jan. 27.

During that stretch of time about 750,000 people will arrive for the show. Many will be taking part in events including rodeo and equestrian judging and shows. There are stock show judging events and auctions for animals

While entertainment draws a lot of attention, much of the event’s focus is on livestock. There are judging competitions for horses, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, bison, yaks, poultry and rabbits. Ten livestock associations hold their national shows at National Western. The Gold Trophy Bison Show is the only event of its type in the world.

There also are a number of livestock sales where millions of dollars change hands as prize animals are sold to new owners.

The first wave of the thousands of animals will begin arriving at the National Western Stock Show complex as the New Year is ushered in because stabling the animals require coordination. Hundreds of animals come to the show and stable space is limited.

The outdoor cattle pens can be a temporary home for animals being shown or put up for auction or judged during the show. When it is time for them to be shown, auctioned or judged, the cattle are brought inside, filling the barns.

For example, the usual sequence of events preparing cattle for a show or auction begins in the barns, where each animal is washed and blow dried. Handlers usually then use clippers to smooth the coat before brushing and grooming each animal to look its best.

Once that breed’s shows are complete, the animals are either auctioned off or quickly loaded up to be taken home. Once the animals are all moved out of the barns, crews move in and clean the stalls to make them ready for the next occupants.

The National Western Stock Show is Colorado’s largest trade show. The hall of education is filled with vendors offering items ranging from custom embroidered jackets to farm machinery. According to estimates the economic impact is about $115 million and the event generates about $6 million in local and state taxes.

The show events are spread among a number of facilities. Stock show activities are centered at the National Western Stock Show Arena and Hall of Education near 46th Avenue and Humbolt Street, the Events Center at 1515 E. 47th Ave. and the nearby Denver Coliseum. For information, tickets, the event schedule and event locations, call 303-297-1166 or go online to nationalwestern.com.

The Denver Coliseum is home to the National Western Stock Show Rodeo, the first event on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association schedule, and show information states it is the richest regular season professional rodeos. Each rodeo performance features competition in bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and barrel racing, plus there are specialty acts booked to perform during breaks in the rodeo.

The rodeo events are in the Coliseum while, at the other end of the National Western complex, the Events Center will be equally busy as the site of horse competitions for a number of breeds and styles.

There will be shows and competitions as well as activities that include the Grand Prix jumping event, an evening of dancing horses and a daily schedule of riding and performance competitions.

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