Every January Denver hosts the world’s largest stock show at its own National Western Complex. Taking place January 12-27, Denver will welcome over 15,000 animals and 650,000 annual attendees for two-weeks of rodeos, horse shows, bull-riding, petting zoos and endless shopping at Colorado’s biggest Western trade show.

Founded in 1906, the National Western Stock Show is an important agricultural event and a celebration western culture.  In 2019, a new record was set at the National Western Stock Show when the Grand Champion Steer sold for a whopping $90,000.  If you’re a cowboy/girl at heart or just looking for a new cultural experience, The National Western Stock Show is worth a visit, so dig out your best country attire and check out these favorited attractions at this 16-day event.

Events

Note: Many events are free with the purchase of a general admission ticket ($12-$24 for adults and $3-$4 for children between 3-11).

Kick-off Parade

The National Western Stock Show Kick-off Parade will start at Union Station at noon on Thurs, Jan 9th, so don’t be alarmed if you run into over two-dozen Longhorn cattle strolling down the streets of Denver. Entertaining for the whole family and quite a spectacle to behold, the parade emulates a true western cattle drive.

A Longhorn walking down the streets of Downtown Denver during the parade.

Pro Rodeos & Dancing Horses

The National Western Stock Show features over 20 Pro Rodeos featuring top athletes from across the country. Bulls and broncos will face off cowboys and cowgirls resulting in a thrilling experience that will have you holding on for dear life from the comfort of your seat.  For a more elegant event, head to the equestrian shows featuring top horses and riders in elaborate outfits as they display their talents in freestyle reigning choreographed to a light and music set.

Dog Shows

One of the most popular events, the Xtreme Dog Shows attract dog lovers from all over to watch their furry friends show off their tricks. Expect retrieving, herding, tunnel relays and surprise stunts along the way.  Fun for the whole family, this talent and comedy show brings laughs and awes for all ages.

Mutton Busting

Far and away the most adorable thing you can do at the rodeo,  Mutton Busting is the children’s version of a pro rodeo.  Watch aspiring little tikes (ages 5-7) practice their rodeo skills as they try to stay balanced on top of a running sheep. It’s guaranteed to make your day.

Food, Art, and Leather Goods

The stock show has all the rodeo staples you’d expect like funnel cakes, hamburgers, turkey legs and some unbeatable barbecue. But for the true cultural experience, head to the bottom level of the Expo Hall to the Cowboy Bar and take a seat next to the real cowboys who’ve been visiting this watering hole since its inception in 1906.

Walk the National Western Stock Show trade show for an impressive array of vendor booths (over 300) with one of kind leather goods, western art, jewelry and of course signature boots and hats.

 Tips:

  • Plan your trip in advance. With so much to see, it can be overwhelming to try to do it all.  Pick what you’re interested in and get a map once you arrive!
  • If you’re able, got to the show during the weekdays for less crowds and better access to all the events.
  • Parking is free but limited. If the National Western Complex fills up, there’s more free parking at Coors Field, with a shuttle bus to take you directly to the show.
  • Bring your Kids. From petting zoos, lasso competitions, hog shows (that includes pigs riding skateboards), to meet and greets with the performing dogs, this event brings fun for the whole family.  For more information on kid’s activities, click here.

Where to Stay:

A list of the nearby Hilton Hotels to the National Western Complex:

DoubleTree by Hilton Denver

DoubleTree by Hilton Denver- Stapleton North

Embassy Suites by Hilton Denver Stapleton

For more options, click here to view our entire list of hotels.

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