Stock show ends with top ten all-time attendance
The 106th National Western Stock Show (NWSS) ended Sunday, Jan. 22, with strong numbers throughout the 16 days. Opening day started with a bang as Colorado Champions faced off against the World Champions in the first ever Colorado vs. the World rodeo. Over 44,000 people attended opening day, making it the second biggest in history. Total attendance for the 16day run was 636,662, making it a top ten year in National Western history!
The historic yards hosted over 16,000 head of livestock, making it one of the top five years of all time. The Wagyu, a Japanese heritage breed, made its debut at the show and was shown here for the first time in the U.S.
New records were made at the Junior Livestock Auction, too, as 98 animals were sold for a record $611,200, nearly a $20,000 increase from the previous record. The money invested supports the youths who raised the animals as they plan for their future needs for college education.
The National Western Scholarship Trust is funded by three primary sources and each source had a tremendous year. The Junior Livestock Auction, as noted earlier, had a record year and a percentage of the total goes to fund the Trust. The Citizen of the West dinner, honoring Lynne Cheney, made its first appearance at the Event’s Center to a soldout arena floor. The Coors Western Art exhibit had a great year and a portion of the proceeds went to fund the Scholarship Trust. All three of these events will produce enough revenue to fund a projected 75 scholarships throughout Colorado and Wyoming for students studying in the fields of agriculture and rural medicine.
Events abounded at the show. The 19 ProRodeos featured some of the greatest competitors from around the world, along with the famous Westernaires. Ticketed events such as An Evening with Dancing Horses, the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza, the Draft Horse pull
and show and the Martin Luther King Jr. African- American Heritage Rodeo all drew appreciative crowds. New highlights this year included the Susan G. Komen “Pink” Rodeo and a historic night in salute to our armed forces.
Tom Huelsman, WLJ account executive who spent time representing WLJ at our booth at NWSS, said it was fun to see some of the longtime people in the industry get together and swap stories. Seeing the range of people—from all walks of life and from all over the country and the world—was also a pleasure.
“I met people from all over—Ireland, South Africa, some countries I can’t remember. And all sorts of people. Some who never saw livestock before and just came to the show for fun. It was probably real educational for them,” Huelsman said.
Dick Konopka, also of WLJ, said the show went well and he enjoyed meeting with WLJ readers. He also noted there were high turnouts on the weekends especially. He commented with a laugh that likely had more to do with sports than anything else. “If we don’t have the Broncos in the playoffs, all the locals show up to the stock show.”
Tom Feeney, Y-Tex dealer, whose booth neighbored WLJ’s, said he got a lot of management questions from prospective customers. “It was kind of nice to have people interested in [the ear tags] for reasons other than because of some regulation.”
Dr. Don Coover of SEK Genetics said the attitude of this year’s NWSS was much better than last year. “People were more upbeat. The cattle business is in for some good times with the record high prices they’re getting for their animals.”
All in all, it was an exciting show with a lot of energy.
Though NWSS has changed over the years, it is an event that producers and the general public alike can look forward to and enjoy. — Kerry Halladay, WLJ Editor