DENVER — Organizers have opted to postpone the 115th National Western Stock Show by one year and to resume the event in January 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
National Western Stock Show President & CEO Paul Andrews, Western Stock Show Association (WSSA) Chairman of the Board Doug Jones and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock made the formal announcement during a news conference Monday morning.
“The decision to postpone the 2021 Stock Show is incredibly difficult for our board of directors, staff, volunteers, business partners and the City and County of Denver,” said Jones. “But the iconic western events and traditions we all know and love will be back in 2022, stronger than ever."
A tradition since 1906, the National Western is part-rodeo, part-livestock show and part-fair that brings hundreds of thousands of people to the National Western Complex each year for a celebration of the state’s agricultural heritage.
Stock Show organizers said that the current environment with COVID-19 is not reassuring enough to allow for a traditional stock show to take place without potentially compromising the health and safety of exhibitors, visitors and the public at large.
Hancock said event organizers made the correct decision, saying that even if a COVID-19 vaccine was ready by January 2021, it will still likely take months to get enough people vaccinated to carry on a large event safely.
"This is the right decision, it's the best decision," Hancock said, adding that Denver officials will work to make sure it comes back in 2022.
Andrews said that one silver lining is that it will allow construction of the National Western Center to carry on uninterrupted. The new center will include more than 2.2 million square feet of new indoor and outdoor spaces designed to host research labs, farmer's markets, conferences, festivals and more.
Construction on the center began in 2019, four years after Denver City Council adopted the master plan and Denver residents voted to fund construction. Center construction is scheduled for completion by 2024, according to the National Western Center website.
"Construction of the National Western Center will make more progress...on [the] future home of the show due to the show not occurring this year," Andrews said, adding that the Yards and Stockyards Event Center will be ready in January 2022.
The 2021 annual National Western Stock Show was initially scheduled to run from Saturday, Jan. 9 to Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. The 2022 show will run from Jan. 8 to Jan. 23, 2022.
The 16-day event, Colorado's largest agricultural event, typically includes nearly 900 booths and draws about 700,000 people annually. Jones said it also carries a $100 million economic impact and funds about 100 scholarships for students majoring in agricultural and rural programs.
"The global pandemic has impacted all live events throughout America and across the globe...and Colorado is not exempt from that," Jones said.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis released the following statement about the show's 2021 cancellation:
"The National Western Stock Show is a proud tradition in our state and one of the ways we can all come together to celebrate agriculture in Colorado and across the west. Just as I enjoyed going as a kid, we now enjoy bringing our kids in proud support of ranching in Colorado. I’m disappointed that the show couldn’t occur this time due to the pandemic, but I respect the National Western Stock Show’s decision and know it was a difficult one to make. I look forward to being able to attend an even bigger and better Stock Show the following year.”
9NEWS is a corporate partner of the National Western Stock Show.
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