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National Western Stock Show & Rodeo 2023

The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo Rolls into Denver for the 117th Year!

The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo is a truly iconic and world-renowned event that hits Denver for the 117th year from January 7th to January 22nd. When we say there is something for everyone at this event, that is the straight truth! From llamas to cattle shows, ranch rodeos to pro rodeos, and agriculture education to PBR bull riding, there isn’t much you want to miss during these 16 days. 

The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo are rich in history and tradition, starting with the first stock show in 1906 brought together by Elias M Ammons, president of the Colorado Cattle and Horse Growers Association. He noticed that year Denver would bring together six major agriculture groups and accurately saw it as a way to build synergy amongst them all. 116 years later, the show and rodeo are still going strong. Each year almost 700,000 people make their way to the grounds to enjoy 30 rodeos, 11 horse shows, and countless other attractions. 

Credit to CLN

This show and rodeo help keep western heritage alive for those who may not have easy access to it in their daily lives. For others, it’s an event to gather with like-minded people to show off hard work through their livestock projects. The mission of the National Western Stock Show is to invest in future generations by promoting youth and community development through livestock and equestrian education, innovation, entertainment, and competition. Not only does this organization put on a spectacular event, but they are also committed to developing agricultural leaders through their scholarship opportunities.

Credit to NWSSR

Get there on the first day of this big event to catch the CINCH World Team Semi-Final Rodeo – Boy Scout Day. This exciting event features Colorado rodeo champions matched up against rodeo champions of the world! That same day is the kickoff of the Frontier Airlines Mutton Bustin’, which is always a crowd favorite. Children ages 5-7 and under 55 pounds get a chance to be part of the action, riding sheep out of the chute and into the rodeo arena. All the constants have to do is hold on for as long as they can to be crowned the champ! 

Credit to NWSSR

January 8th is host to the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganze, which features the pageantry and flair of the Mexican rodeo. This event includes Mexican-style bull riding, bareback riding, trick roping, Mariachi music, side saddle performances, and the Portuguese-style Bull Fights, all choreographed by Jerry Diaz, a fourth-generation champion charro. The Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour will hit the arena January 9th-11th, and you won’t want to miss the pro rodeos January 11th-22nd. 

Credit to NWSSR

But as previously mentioned, this isn’t just about rodeo, but also about livestock and horse shows and offering opportunities for agriculture education too. Check out the Colorado State University Ag Adventures, where guests can get hands-on with agriculture featuring commodities from Colorado. Within the CSU Ag Adventures is CAM’s Classroom, where scheduled lessons and activities are presented by agriculture community leaders. Also, in this educational area, be sure to check out the Dairy Discovery Zone, The Hutchinson Western Pony Trails, the King Soopers Petting Farm, and the National Western Nursery, which is full of baby farm animals. 

Credit to NWSSR

The roots of this show are built on the livestock shows, so you’ll have to check those out too! More than 12,000 heads of livestock will move into the show grounds during this 16-day show touting more than 25 breeds of cattle and numerous other species. With a focus on developing youth through their livestock projects, there is an opportunity for national recognition, prize money, and a chance at college scholarships for competing. If you want to support these kids, don’t miss the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions on Friday, January 20th, 2023. Only the best of the best animals make it to the sale. Last year’s grand champion steer sold for a record high of $160,000, with the majority of the winning bid price going to the exhibitor and 10% of each bid price donated to support the National Western Scholarship Trust.

If you aren’t convinced yet that there is something for you at this rodeo and stock show, check out the website at and have a look around. There is way more going on than one article can hold. 

Next Stop: Various National Western Stock Show & Rodeo Contestants will head to Steamboat Springs for Cowboy Downhill

Cowboy Downhill - Photo by Aaron Kuhl // Cowboy Lifestyle Network (CLN)
Cowboy Downhill – Photo by Aaron Kuhl // Cowboy Lifestyle Network (CLN)

CLN Community & Event Sponsor

With a life entrenched in the western lifestyle and agriculture, my goal is to share worthwhile, intriguing, and exciting stories of the rodeo world, ranchers and farmers, the outdoor lifestyle, and more. Currently, I reside on a working cattle ranch in the iconic Superstition Mountains in Arizona where I like to jump in and play cowgirl when I’m not sharing the stories of the cowboy lifestyle. Follow me on Instagram or TikTok!

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