The National Western Stock Show kicked off its 108th season this month at the National Western Complex in Denver. With world-class rodeo, more than 15,000 animals, 50 performances, and over 350 vendors, there’s fun in store for would-be cowboys and cowgirls of all ages.
The event is an annual celebration of the spirit of the West—both its venerable history and the pioneering attitudes of present day westerners. While the top-notch rodeos tend to get the most attention, the 16-day schedule offers a variety of events and activities that reflects the excitement and diversity of western living. Below, find five must-see events at this year’s National Western Stock Show that will give visitors a flavor of the West—past and present.
Of course, no trip to the National Western Stock Show would be complete without a trip to the rodeo. Check out the skillfully choreographed pageantry and pomp of the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza, featuring the death defying Paso de la Muerte (“Death Jump”), or celebrate the history of the black cowboy at the one night only Martin Luther King, Jr., African-American heritage rodeo.
Colorado Fiddle Championships
Music and dance lovers can enjoy two full days of toe-tapping fiddling during the lively Colorado Fiddle Championships. Organized by the Colorado Old Time Fiddlers’ Association, the event draws some of the nation’s most talented fiddlers, including past winners of the National Old Time Fiddlers Contest and the Grand Master Fiddler Championship.
National Western Nursery
In the mood for a cuteness overdose? Visit the National Western Nursery in the NW Events Center Paddock. This exhibit is brand new in 2014, much like the newborn baby animals on display in the nursery. With the tiniest of farm and ranch animals at your fingertips, it is sure to melt the heart of even the steeliest cowpoke.
The Trade Show at the National Western Stock Show is legendary. Find everything from Western-themed oven mitts to iPhone cases, pencil sharpeners to pistol lighters, not to mention oodles of authentic jewelry, boots, and hats to fill out your Wild West wardrobe, at least until next year.
Who said the Stock Show has to be all about farm and ranch animals? Watch 20 high-energy, highly trained dogs put old Rover to shame in a fun and entertaining show of doggie athleticism and discipline. You can expect lots of music and cheering, and a whole bunch of cool canines.
Or, strike out on your own! The National Western Stock Show is a great event for the whole family, with plenty of unique events to help you and your own posse find your unique brand of Western spirit, whatever it might be.