I love this time of year in Denver, January, when the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) gives us something fun to do. There are quite a few people who have never even heard about it, some right next door to me in Boulder. Their kids are horse crazy yet they have never heard about all the fun things to do and see at NWSS! But, not only are their horses and cattle, but stock dogs, pigs, chickens and rabbits!
I love the little secret places you can happen upon while wondering through the three event buildings. You open a door to find an auction going on and there is always a rancher happy to tell you all about it. Another door finds you in the ‘cow beauty parlor’, as I call it, where all the cattle are getting washed and blown dry for the show ring—from Scottish Highland to Angus you can find it all downstairs along with my favorite bar for a Bourbon and coke! I have had some fascinating conversations under the Hall of Education with people from as far south as Australia!
Got trucks, tractors and trailer envy? This is the place to check em out. Wander the aisles for some wears, boots, clothing, hats, a fence panel or two. Get artsy! Check out the Coors Western Art Gallery and cast your vote for your favorite painting, sculpture or photograph upstairs in the Hall of Education.
Take a walkabout and get some air and head over to the cattle pens between the Hall of Education and the Event Center. After that step into the Event Center and take that first left door. Downstairs is the warm up arena and the stable area where the horse’s are overnighting for their big event. One of my favorite times to go there is when the ‘big boys and girls’ arrive, the draft horses! They arrive on semi’s, and as they unload and walk past me I always stand in awe at their sheer size and gentleness.
Whatever you choose to do at the National Western Stock Show, and whatever events you are drawn to—English or Western—take the time to explore Western heritage and all that it has to offer here in your hometown.