Sunday, February 9, 2014

The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo


My husband and I attended the 108th National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver, Colorado, a couple of weekends ago. This quintessential multi-day western event takes place every January at the National Western Complex, located at 4655 Humboldt Street, Denver, Colorado. The 100 acre National Western grounds and buildings consist of a Expo Hall, Hall of Education, Events Center, Stadium Arena, Stockyards and Denver Coliseum. The stock show has a long and colorful history click on the highlighted words to read the entire story. (All photos in this post will enlarge if clicked on)


The first thing we did after parking for free, in one of the event center's parking lots, was to buy tickets to two events we wanted to see: the Pro Rodeo, and the Draft Horse Show. There is so much to see and do at the National Western Stock show that we knew we would not be able to do it all in one day, but hopefully we will be able to return next year to see more of the shows!


We had a little time before the beginning of the rodeo, so we took a stroll through the stockyards. There are two ways to view the stock on display in the yards. You can climb up stairs to a platform that runs along the western edge and look down at the stock, as you can see in the photo collage above.


Or you can walk among the stock pens, for a close up look at the animals for sale. Since we attended the Stock Show on a day during the last weekend, much of the stock had been sold, but we still saw plenty of cows, long horned cattle, buffalo, yaks and horses that were for sale or up for auction. The National Western Stock Show hosts nearly 20 breeds of cattle during its 16 day run!


We visited some of the show and auction rings and grooming stables, and saw the awards that many of the stock had won at prior shows. To see the results of the 2014 livestock sale click on this link.


We attended the pro rodeo in the coliseum building. This was only the second time my husband and I attended a rodeo.  The first was at Cody, Wyoming, when we were on our way to visit Yellowstone National Park a few years ago. Click here to read that post. We were amazed how much fun and how exciting it was to see, and we knew that the National Western Stock Show rodeo is ranked among the top five rodeos in the world, so we were looking forward to seeing this one.


The show began with a fireworks display and a prayer for the safety of all the cowboys and cowgirls who would be participating. The National Anthem was then sung, and Colorado's state flag and the the flag of the rodeo sponsor was rode around the arena


The first event were the cowboys riding the bucking broncos!


The horses did their best to try to shake off each cowboy who was riding them!


It is really a test of strength and agility for the cowboy.


I don't know how they hang on...


...and on...


...and on!


Look at the height of this horse's kick!


Unfortunately, a large majority of the cowboys ended up falling off the horse. Saddle bronc riding evolved from the task of breaking and training horses to work the cattle ranches of the old West, and involves a lot of technical skill and style. Bareback bronc riding is even more physically demanding. Being a rodeo going novice, I do not know all the technical ways the cowboys are scored, nor did I pay attention to the scores, but I did have fun photographing them! To see all the official rodeo results click on this link.


Here is a photo collage of some of my favorite shots (please click on to enlarge).


Next, came different kinds of cattle roping--tie down roping, steer wrestling and team roping. In the first and third types, the cowboy rides out after the running cattle and lassos it. The horse or team member keeps the rope taunt as the cowboy goes over and picks up the cattle lays it on its side and ties up the legs to make it lay still, all the while being timed.


The Steer Wrestler cowboy, or "bulldogger," tries to throw himself off his horse onto the running cattle, grab it by its horns, and then wrestle it to the ground. Speed is the name of the game in this event and the modern world record is set at 2.4 seconds!

The steer events are skills the have developed by ranchers to catch cattle that escape from the herd or to isolate herd cattle that are sick or injured and need to be immobilized, so that they can be given care.  Each style of roping or wrestling certainly looked strenuous and dangerous to me!


A couple of fun events at the rodeo were the "Mutton Bustin" and Westernaires.  In the "Mutton Bustin" event,  five to seven year old children, under 55 pounds, ride sheep out of a chute and into the rodeo arena. The contestants cling to the back of the thickly coated sheep as long as they can for the best score. One little girl held on till her sheep reached the end of the arena! All the participants receive a trophy.


The Westernaires are a group of entertainers who are part of a nonprofit youth organization from Jefferson County, Colorado. Staffed entirely by more than 350 adult volunteers, the organization has more than 1,000 young riders ranging in age from 9 to 19, and who vary in ability from beginner to the accomplished performers we saw.  The acrobatics these young artists performed were amazing!  The young man seen in the collage above actually ran along side a running horse and jumped over it from side to side! We were amazed by his agility!


The rodeo also had a barrel racing event, clowns, and a few other attractions.


The most dangerous event in a rodeo is the bull riding event! 


The bull rider is only allowed to use one hand to hold onto the bull. If his other hand touches himself or the bull he receives no score/


It takes a lot of balance, coordination, quick reflexes to stay on the bull as long as possible


I also thought that the "clowns" that try to distract the bull away from the fallen riders so they don't get trampled,  were also pretty brave!


A photo collage of some of the bull riders (please click on to enlarge).

You can see how hard the bulls try to shake off the rider.  It is such an exciting event to see!


After the rodeo, we had another show to attend later in the day at the National Western Stock Show--the Draft Horse Show.  These large, strong, horses are magnificent to see in action!  Since this post is already long, I'll save those photos and descriptions for my next post.

The 2014 National Western Stock Show attracted 640,022 people to its events this year!  It was a banner year and much money was raised for it's scholarship programs.  I know my husband and I will enjoy returning to see more of the special events of the National Western Stock Show next year.  It made us feel happy to be a part of this great Western heritage!


PS: Be sure to enter the Suave Professionals® Moroccan Infusion Body Care products sweepstakes on my prior post, for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card! With this winter's extreme cold and snow I think we could all use some extra moisturizing for our skin, and I think you'll like these new products. See rules on that post. Good Luck!



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42 comments:

Pamela Gordon said...

That was quite a show and event, Pat. I've never been to a rodeo but would love to go to the Calgary Stampede some year.

Vee said...

What a lot of action you captured! It has been a long time since I attended a rodeo (Tucson, AZ) but I remember how exciting it was and how impressed I was with the clowns, too.

Cathy Keller said...

Just incredible pictures!!! It was always a celebration in January when "stock show" was in town!!! Your photos did it proud!!! Thanx for the memories!!! Cathy

The Gathering Place said...

I grew up attending the famous Preston Rodeo (in Idaho). I haven't been to a rodeo in many years, but I remember the clowns and the bull riders. You got some good pictures of the events. That's hard to do with all the movement going on.

Pondside said...

Wow! That was quite an event!
Years ago we attended the National Pro Rodeo in OKC, and then we lived for a time in Alberta where we'd attend the small town rodeos, which were also a lot of fun. The riders certainly are brave!
I can't enter the draw for the Suave products, but your narrative was compelling enough to make me want to find some tomorrow!

Kris said...

I have always wanted to go to a rodeo!!! Great shots!!! Big fun!!
xo Kris

ellen b. said...

Looks like a load of fun. I'm sitting here wondering how their backs survive riding and bucking and getting thrown!

Ola said...

wow, it's for real men:)good shots from the event!

eileeninmd said...

Pat, what a fun time at the rodeo.. And I like seeing all the livestock outside. The Yak is cool. Great action shots. Great post, thanks for sharing. Have a happy week!

Tracy said...

Oh, WOW... WOO-HOO! I've always wanted to go to a Rodeo! Poor animals though... and anyone who falls off... :o/ Would love to have seen the Westernaires--amazing! Thanks for taking us along, Pat--this was such great FUN! Happy Days ((HUGS))

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Its been years since I've been to a rodeo. They can be lots of fun.

Great pics of the event.

Snap said...

I don't "do" the rodeo anymore, but almost always will walk through the livestock show. I love the cows -- I think it's their big brown eyes! :) Then it's off to see the cutting horses ... my Granpa raised Quarter Horses, so this is a must see for me. I enjoyed your visit to the Stock Show and Rodeo. You sound like an old pro!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

What fun! I love a good rodeo! And I always enjoy looking at the stock exhibits. I never performed in a rodeo because I didn't ride Quarter Horses. We had a variety of horses, but my favorite ride was my dad's Tennessee Walker. I had friends who rode barrels and other things, and one of them has a son who is a national champion. Saw that in my hometown paper the other day.

This was such fun to see! The American West! Gotta love it!

xoxoxox

Sheila

Barbara said...

So let me get this straight. In the bull-riding event, if the rider uses his free hand to grab the bull to hold on for dear life, he gets no points?!! What person in their right mind would want to do that?!!! (laugh) I can't imagine, but they know what they are doing and it does provide very interesting entertainment! I haven't been to the Stock Show since 1969. It may be time for me to considering going next year! Great post, especially the action photography!

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I love rodeos, but haven't been to one in years. I'd love to see one again! Your photos are wonderful, Pat!

Grace said...

oh what fun! I love all your pictures. Looks like the weather there is better than in NY lol Grace xoox

Grace said...

oh what fun! I love all your pictures. Looks like the weather there is better than in NY lol Grace xoox

SmilingSally said...

That Colorado sky is blue-tiful! We went on a vacation one year to Boulder and Pike's Peak and saw Pike's Peak or Bust Rodeo. We had a super time. Thanks for the terrific photos.

Thanks for linking in today.

Happy Blue Monday, Pat.

ladyfi said...

What a great event!

Old Kitty said...

Yee-ha!! LOL!

Wow! What an amazing event to see live - the animals look HUGE!! Even the sheep! LOL!! Goodness me! You are so in cowboy country - it;s got all the classic elements - the rodeos, the riders, the cowboys..! Amazing!

Take care
x

carol l mckenna said...

Wow! Great shots and such an event for OWT ~ thanks,

carol and artmusedog
www.acreativeharbor.com

bettyl-NZ said...

I always wanted to see a rodeo but never got to, so thanks for sharing yours! It looks like such a great time!

Ann said...

I have never been to a rodeo but it sure does look like fun. I can't imagine how sore I would be after trying to stay on one of those horses. Or worse after hitting the ground a few times

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Pat- it's so nice to follow your adventures in your new home state. You and Vinny are an inspiration to all people of how fun a good marriage can be.

Betty said...

This month is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, but I've only gone once. I joke that I don't have to go because I went to the rodeo as a child at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Yes, they actually had a rodeo at that time. It was probably the early 1950's and I was really into Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans and wanted to be a cowgirl someday. My mother even kept me out of school that day.

podso said...

This brings such a clear memory of going to the Chicago stock show when I was a kid. I can still feel the cold air inside the huge place and the "scent." I'm wondering why we were there. I don't think it was a rodeo. Enjoyed your post!

Al said...

That looks awesome, and you got some good shots of it. In all the time I've lived in Colorado I've never made it there, or even to the local rodeo!

Nancy's Notes said...

Great rodeo! Thanks for the great event, wow! I have not been to one is a long time! Great post! I'm happy I found your blog, looks great!

Ercotravels said...

Great adventure spot, Indeed!
Impressive photos..
thanks for sharing.
http://travelagent-india.blogspot.in/

HOOTIN ANNI said...

As soon as I read your link at Our World Tuesday this morning...I KNEW where it would take me!

I am living in South Texas now, but I GREW UP just a bit north of Denver...lived in the foothills for over forty years.

And what a treat...to go back in time remembering the stock show!!

Daniela said...

Oh my, these photographs are really amazing !!
I wonder how exciting watching it live it was, I love to see how you're still linked to your old traditions and costumes, these scenes seems taken from your Far West history and you know how much we Italians are fond of it ;)
Thank you so much, I've enjoyed this post a lot !!
Sending love to you my dearest friend, have a lovely continuation of the week. xoxox
Dany

P.S. please, go on calling me Danny, dear Pat, you have to know that my beloved grandparents used to call me Danny since I was a child and ... it makes me 'feel at home' <3 !!

Marilyn Stevens said...

So good to find you on my blog once again ! !
DH would love to see a real Rodeo... He often says if he ever had it to do over he would live in the west & be a cowboy!! (Me?? I would live in Manhattan.) I guess it is true about opposites!! LOL!!
Marilyn

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You have officially become a Westerner now! We grew up going to rodeos (in eastern Washington, Northern Idah0), but haven't been for years and years and years. This even dwarfs anything we ever saw though.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Oh I just saw the first comment as I signed off of my previous comment and remembered that we did once go to the Calgary Stampede. Probably that might be similar.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Quite a show, all right! I always wonder why the riders subject themselves to such punishment...but it is definitely a challenge and fun to watch. I haven't been to too many rodeo events in my life...but we enjoy watching the rodeo at our local fair. And they always have amazing draft horse events there as well.

Barb said...

Pat, I've never been to the stock show but enjoyed your photos and descriptions of it. Looked like a nice day when you attended.

Powell River Books said...

I love a rodeo. I got to go to Calgary once, and it was great. But I think my favourite was a smalltown event in Kernville, California. - Margy

Pallavi said...

I have never attended a rodeo before dear Pat and probably don't have the nerves for it! I would definitely freak out to see the cowboys riding the horses and getting thrown off... :( But hope you and your husband enjoyed the outing. Have a good week ahead.

AdriBarr said...

What a cool article! I have never been to a rodeo nor to a stock show. The closest I have come is the Los Angeles County Fair in late summer. I am always amazed at the sheer size of the animals, not to mention their power. Those of us who live in the city really have lots to learn. Thanks for a fun read, I particularly enjoyed the action shots. Those bucking broncs are amazing horses. How ever do the cowboys hang on? What skill!

Light and Voices said...

Exciting photographs this week that you posted on Outdoor Wednesday. Our grandchildren rode in a rodeo when they were about 6 and 8 years old.
JM Illinois

Pat said...

Now I would love going to an event like this. Last rodeo I attended was in Nashville about 4 years ago. Love it!

diane b said...

You are really getting into Western life. It sure looks like a big exciting event. When I was young I saw some country rodeos and thought they were exciting but now I feel sorry for the animals having that belt tied about their flanks to purposely annoy them and to make them buck. I like the talented horse riding shows though.