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The ten-gallon hats are coming to Las Vegas!
And for ten days in December, you’ll see cowboy boots and wranglers, carrying them through just about every hotel and restaurant in town, all brought here by the lure of the rodeo arena – and a chance to win!
It’s National Finals Rodeo, counting 35 action-packed years in Vegas.
Not an enthusiast? It doesn’t matter, because this show is so big it literally has something for everyone. Once in your life, get caught up in the spectacle – the sounds, smells, and action that make rodeo unforgettable.
What makes the NFR . . .
Over 300 Sold Out performances
Top 15 contestants in seven categories
The thrill of winning . . .
World Champion Bragging Rights 2018
Three-time World Champion O’Connell says “I live to come out on top and I’m doing everything in my power to be the best in the world.” Winnings: $319,801
What makes the difference between first and second in each round can be just a few hundred dollars. It’s consistency overall – and a lucky break or two – that make the difference. Said Smith, “It’s everything we’ve worked for. We just stayed aggressive and tried to win something on every one of them.” Winnings:$289,921
The ups and downs of the rodeo circuit . . .
“This takes hours and hours of practice, great horsepower, and great traveling partners,” says 2x World Champ Tyler. “We worked hard all year long and it paid off in the end.” Winnings: $260,013
After qualifying for the finals 9 years in a row, and losing his family home, Wade says “It feels like it’s been a long time coming, falling short. But just . . . go for the gusto and good will come out.” Winnings: $280,636
You can enjoy a lot of sports on TV but NFR must be experienced up close and personal.
Finding what it takes to keep going . . .
Five World Championships in a row puts Sage Kimzey in legend territory. And 2018 was tough. 2018 “. . .was just sheer grit and determination from the start of the year,” said a battered Kimsey. “It started with a fractured pelvis and it was a 365-day grind . . . . It was hard to get out of bed.” Winnings: $415,263
Not your average pony ride . . .
Everyone knows the old saying: When you fall off a horse, you have to get back in the saddle. Cowboys do it for real, with or without a saddle and often with injuries.
Qualifying for NFR is simple. Compete in as many off-season rodeos as possible and win more than others. And try not to get hurt.
Winning at the NFR is like this: make it through ten rounds over ten days and win, place or average more than the next guy on each go round. And earn the most money. But the average winner with better scores and the world champion with more money, for each event could be two different people.
This makes for A LOT OF EXCITEMENT.
The GMLV blog focuses on the hottest entertainment venues and personalities – the best of Las Vegas – and serves it up for the world, and you, to enjoy. We’re the place to get free and discounted tickets to Las Vegas shows.
Consistency, and trust . . .
Despite personal adversity, Caleb put away his second championship with level performances and his eleven-year old horse. Pockets is big and has small hooves but when he plants he doesn’t move another inch, jerks the calf right off its feet. Winnings: $232,817
Sometimes it's 2nd chances, but mostly it's hard work . . .
He’s one of the winningest cowboys of all time. Some even call him the “world’s greatest cowboy.” “We rodeo all year,” he says, but “world championships are won and lost in Vegas.” So, many wondered that he chose to make 2018 his last year. Trevor explained, “Winning doesn’t make it harder for me to walk away, it makes it easier.” Of course, he has the quarter horse ranch in Texas to keep him busy. Winnings: $335,680
The real secret to success?
The most important thing about the success of NFR may just be the dirt. Yeah, all 2500 tons of it. This special dirt must meet the performance needs of very different events. Broncs need to plant and jump off the top layer. And animals in timed events gotta be able to slide. Then barrel racers need to dig in several inches on turns. The composition, compaction rates, moisture content – even something called side pressure – all get tested every day. Afterward, all that dirt gets stored on the UNLV campus, until next time.
Park your horse and go shopping . . .
Where would Las Vegas be without Cowboy Christmas?
NFR happens at night but the day is for shopping. Cowboy Christmas is free, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Halls, from 9 am – 5 pm. Browse hundreds of exhibitors, featuring western art, gear, fashion, food, collectibles, celebrities, interactive exhibits and more! And while you’re there, take a peek upstairs at RMEF’s Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo. Your best bet? take the monorail. Here’s a look at last year but wait’ll you see 2019!
Or have a night on the town . . .
The big draw is the rodeo but there are country music stars aplenty to add zing to your evening. And if you didn’t – or couldn’t – make it to the T & M, there are watch parties all over town. Grab your friends, grab a beer and take it all in! But don’t overdo it because for ten tomorrows in December, there’s another day of shopping and another evening of fabulous rodeo!
Where to go and how to get there . . .
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Who’s gonna brag in 2019? FIND OUT!
Thursday, December 5 –Saturday, December 14
All Events are 6:45 pm – 9:00 pm
Thomas & Mack Center
4505 S Maryland Parkway
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