107th National Western Stock Show brings in the New Year

Dec 14, 2012

The National Western Stock Show (NWSS) hosts nearly 20 breeds of cattle during its 16-day run. In addition, the show hosts: Prospect Steer and Heifer Shows, Hoof & Rail Fed Beef Contest, and the NWSS Commercial Heifer Show.

According to NWSS history books, four breeds held court at the first NWSS in 1906—Angus, Galloway, Hereford and Shorthorn.

They were the standards of the day and the foundation of the American cattle market.

Known for their stocky frames and meat production, these English-bred cattle would see a European influx of larger structured, heavier cattle in the 1970s and early ’80s.

As the cattle industry in the U.S. changed, so did NWSS. In addition to the original four breeds, the show now hosts a variety of breeds from around the globe.

In addition to the cattle shows, NWSS also offers competition among exhibitors of animals used primarily for recreation or companionship (llamas, poultry, rabbits and dogs).

Youth involvement is another highlight of the livestock shows. Young exhibitors from across the nation participate for prize monies, national recognition for their achievements, and a chance at college scholarships.

More than 15,000 head of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, alpacas, bison, yak, poultry and rabbits step foot on the grounds of the NWSS each year. NWSS is noted for hosting the world’s only carload and pen cattle show, held in the historic Denver Union Stockyards.

Overall attendance in 2012 was 636,663. The attendance record was set during the stock show’s 100th anniversary in 2006 at 726,972, but 2012 made the top 10 in attendance.

NWSS announced in November that this year’s guests would have free parking.

“We are excited to announce you will no longer pay to park when you enter an NWSS parking lot. We realize stock show and rodeo fans have many things to spend their money on, so this year, it will not be on parking at the National Western Stock Show,” said president and CEO Paul Andrews. “We want fans and guests to receive the best value for their money, so we will also offer a Value Snack Pack which will include a soda and snack for only $5,” said Andrews.

NWSS will say “thank you” to fans this year with Fan Appreciation Day, Jan. 27 when Grounds Admission tickets are just $8.

NWSS offers the best value in family entertainment and western heritage with 19 pro rodeos, Martin Luther King Day, Jr. Heritage Rodeo, Mexican Rodeos, Dancing Horses, Wild West Shows, Super Dogs, and the second annual Colorado vs. the World rodeos. All these exciting events plus Coors Western Art exhibits and sales, the largest trade show in Colorado, kids’ activities and educational programs.

NWSS leaders, along with Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock and other city of ficials, also announced that they are committed to keeping the iconic and centuryold stock show in Denver.

Recent plans discussing moving the NWSS are no longer being considered.

“Denver has been the stock show’s beloved home for 106 years, and our complex is a time-honored destination for visitors worldwide,” said Andrews. “We want to enrich and educate the lives of millions for another century, and we believe our future exists right here where we began. By working with our dedicated city partners, we will find the best option to create a sustainable future for the world’s greatest stock show.”

NWSS’s intention is to remain at its current location in Denver’s Elyria- Swansea neighborhood and explore forging stronger partnerships and greater coordination with Art & Venues Denver and VISIT DENVER. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor