Get the most bang for your buck at the National Western Stock Show
There’s nothing else in Colorado like the National Western Stock Show. The annual cattle call which runs Jan. 7-22, kicks off Thursday with a parade through downtown Denver that features 30 Longhorn steers and plenty of cowboys.
But the horns on those steers are only the tip of the fun. Here are three ideas for the 117th National Western Stock Show that offer the most bang for the buck, and your time.
Hit free day for a smorgasbord of sights, sounds (and smells)
Strolling through the pens, stables, Western vendors, pony rides, popcorn smells and shiny new farming equipment at the National Western Complex, 4655 Humboldt St., is a full day of activity.
What to do? As organizers put it: “Catch a horse show, witness a stock dog competition, meander through the newly developed Yards on the historic grounds, cheer on the kids in the Stadium Arena Mutton Bustin’ or shop ‘til you drop’ at the hundreds of western vendors with unique gifts and delicious food.” nationalwestern.com/tickets/grounds-admission
On Tuesday, Jan. 10, however, you can avoid the cost of entry — normally $4-$5 for kids and $17-$25 for adults — since the National Western will offer free grounds admission from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.. The parking lots for free shuttles from Coors Field open at 8 a.m. daily.
The one and the only Mexican Rodeo
What’s a rodeo without flames, live music and traditional Mexican dancing? This boisterous, fan-favorite spectacle offers some traditional culture for Denver’s Mexican and Mexican-American attendees. Amid the competitive, national rodeo contests, horse shows, livestock shows, Xtreme Dog Show, and reenactments of Buffalo Bill Wild West Shows, it always manages to stand out.
This year’s Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza offers shows at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8. Expect “Mexican-style bull riding, bareback riding, trick roping, Mariachi music, side saddle riders, and the Portuguese-style bullfights all choreographed by Jerry Diaz, a fourth-generation champion charro,” organizers wrote. Events take place at the Denver Coliseum. $47-$80 via nationalwestern.com/rodeos.
Check out stunning western art in the Coors Gallery
As part of admission to the Stock Show, attendees can stroll through the annual art show at the Coors Western Art Gallery, which hosts a deep, rich and diverse array of pieces. From contemporary Western art that presents Indigenous perspectives to old-school sculptures and landscape paintings, it’s one of the region’s best collections for fans of the genre.
The Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale, which runs the duration of the stock show, started this week with a red carpet reception. See the full list of this year’s artists — including Sophy Brown, Raj Chaudri, Amy Laugesen, Israel Holloway, Ezra Tucker and Adrienne Stein — at coorswesternart.com/artists.php. It’s included with admission, and the gallery is on the third level of the Expo Hall. Sales benefit the National Western Scholarship Trust.
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