110th NATIONAL WESTERN STOCK SHOW
JAN. 9- 24, 2016 YOUR GUIDE TO RODEOS, SHOWS AND ENTERTAINMENT
At 110 years, the National Western Stock Show shows no sign of limping into its dotage.
“You have world- class rodeo— and nearly 30 of them in the 16 days — world- class horse shows, the Super Bowl of livestock shows and the largest agricultural trade showin Colorado. All those forces combined together to make the annual National Western Stock Show the treasured asset it has been for 110 years,” said president Paul Andrews.
Last year, 682,539 people attended the show, the second- highest number in its history. The attendance record was set in the event’s centennial year, 2006, with 726,972 spectators pouring onto the grounds of the National Western Complex at Brighton Boulevard and Interstate 70.
This year’s show opens Saturday and runs daily through Jan. 24.
Special this year
Headlining this year’s new attractions is the first National Western invitational Ranch Rodeo on Jan .9, at 5:30 p.m. in the Events Center.
There have been rodeos aplenty in the stock show’s history, but the Ranch Rodeo is different. Contestants are full- time ranch hands, rather than rodeo performers, and they compete as teams in contests based on their everyday duties.
Some teams represent one ranch; others are made up of ranch hands from different ranches.
The events are not seen at common rodeos. Among them is wild-cow milking, inwhich teams rope and milk a cow that has spent its life in a pasture.
Awild- horse race will require a team to saddle a wild horse and ride it across a finish line, and a ranch- doctoring competition is part of the action requiring cow hands to rope and tie down cattle to prepare them for treatment by a vet.
Also on the first day, the National Western BBQ Throw down will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is open to anyone with a general admission ticket.
The event features live music, culinary demonstrations, barbecue sampling, and food and beverage vendors.
Forty- two teams, most from Colorado, will compete in the throwdown, and 50 judges, certified by the Kansas City Barbecue Society, will judge four categories: chicken, pork, ribs and brisket.
Traditional rodeo fans also have a lot to look forward to this year.
One of the specialty acts this year is trick roper Loop Rawlins, whose gun spinning, whip cracking and rope twirling has entertained audiences at rodeos, on the television show “America’s Got Talent” and with Cirque du Soleil.
“The staff is really looking for new and exciting acts that might be out there on the horse side as well as the rodeo side. We are always trying to change specialty acts for the rodeos, keep them fresh and new. It used to be a staff would have to travel around the country to see as many of these shows as they could,” Andrews said.
The Internet has made it easier to find those acts and add them to the roster. “We plan and think through all the elements that could make it the most exciting and up- to- date show we could have.”
For the 4- H members, ranch hands, breeders, buyers, auctioneers and other participants, the showis a chance to be with an extended family whose members are related by common interest and heritage, said livestock operations manager Erin Dorsey.
Dorsey, 48, said her parents went to a livestock show on their honeymoon. Like her, most participants grew up on farms and ranches and feel a deep connection with Western traditions.
Dorsey showed cattle at the stock show when she was 3.
“It is just bred into us,” Dorsey said. “For a lot of us, going to a livestock show is a vacation.”
Youth involvement is one of the highlights of the livestock shows. Young exhibitors from across the nation participate in competitive arenas for prize money, national recognition and college scholarships.
As a teen, Clancy Anderson, 24, participated in the Catch- a- Calf event. By successfully running down a calf and wrestling it to the ground, she got the chance to raise a steer over the following year.
Ayear later, in 2009, she showed the steer, Bo, at the stock show, where itwas sold to market.
The $ 1,700 she made in the sale helped pay for her education at Oklahoma State.
Today, Anderson is the stock show’s livestock coordinator.
Sixteen thousand head of livestock, including at least 20 different breeds of cattle, will be spread across the grounds during the show.
Entertainment kicks off with the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Championship, on opening day at 9 a. m.
Among other highlights are a Wild West Show on Jan. 17, Super Dogs on Jan. 18- 19, an Evening of Dancing Horses on Jan. 20- 21 and the Coors Western Art Exhibit throughout the show.
More than 400 vendors will sell — often at negotiable prices — products ranging from saddles and bed sheets to peanut brittle and cargo haulers.
The top floor of the Hall of Education is home to special attractions for children, including pony rides and a petting zoo.
Among the special events that require tickets separate from grounds admission are the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza, the PBR Bull Riding, Pro Rodeos, Martin Luther King Jr. African- American Heritage Rodeo, Cinch Super Shootout Rodeo, National Western Wild West Show, Ram Invitational Freestyle Reining, Grand Prix show jumping, Super Dogs shows, and Evening of Dancing Horses and the Draft Horse Show.
Prize cattle are auctioned off at the Denver Union stockyards in 1929. The 110th NationalWestern Stock Show, which runs Saturday through Jan. 24, show no sign of decreasing in popularity. Last year, 682,539 people attended the event, the second- highest number in its history. Denver Post file
ErnieWilliams, 79, of Cortez runs a trade booth, Cowboy’s Touch, at the NationalWestern Stock Show, which takes place in Denver during most of January. Kenneth D. Lyons, The Denver Post