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9Things to do at the National Western Stock Show

The 116th annual National Western Stock Show and Rodeo runs from Saturday, Jan. 8 to Sunday, Jan. 23.

DENVER — The National Western Stock Show is back!

A tradition since 1906, this part-rodeo, part-livestock show and part-fair brings hundreds of thousands of people to the National Western Complex each year for a celebration of our state’s agricultural heritage.

Whether you're a native Coloradan or a transplant to the Centennial State, you can't miss this annual event, which opens Saturday, Jan. 8 and runs through Sunday, Jan. 23 at the National Western Complex and Denver Coliseum at I-70 and Brighton Boulevard.

RELATED: A guide to the 2022 National Western Stock Show

You haven’t experienced Denver until you’ve experienced the National Western Stock Show. Here are 9 amazing things to do at the 2022 celebration.

Credit: National Western Stock Show

Explore the Grounds

The western trade show at the National Western Stock Show is Colorado's largest.

Hundreds of exhibitors will be selling fine art, jewelry, clothing, household items and agricultural products and equipment at this year's show. The vendors are spread throughout the National Western Complex including the Hall of Education, Events Center and Denver Coliseum. Exploring all of the vendors can take more than a day, so enjoy some food and stay hydrated.

New in 2022, visitors can explore the brand-new stockyards and Stockyards Event Center, just one part of the future National Western Center that is now under construction.

RELATED: CSU opens 1st building of new National Western campus

Rodeos

The Pro Rodeo at the National Western is one of the world's richest regular season professional rodeos. The country's top bulls, cowboys and cowgirls flock to Denver for the event, the first major pro rodeo of the year. There are 20 Pro Rodeos at this year's event, the first on Saturday, Jan. 8.

This year's Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza, featuring Mexican-style bull riding, bareback riding, trick roping and Mariachis, will be held twice on Sunday, Jan. 9. The Extravaganza is choreographed by Jerry Diaz, a fourth-generation champion charro. 

The annual MLK Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo is set for Monday, Jan. 17. The history and heritage of America's black cowboys will be celebrated with pro rodeo events including bronc riding, barrel racing, steer wrestling, mutton bustin', ladies' steer un-decorating and more.

The Pink Rodeo, a special rodeo event to help raise awareness for breast cancer research, is set for Thursday, Jan. 13.

Credit: National Western Stock Show

PBR Bull Riding

Professional Bull Riders (PBR) has the top athletes, fiercest bulls and high-energy sound, lighting and special effects. The 2022 Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour will stop at the National Western for shows on Monday, Jan. 10, Tuesday, Jan. 11 and Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Credit: National Western Stock Show

Junior Livestock Auction

While thousands of junior market animals will compete at this year's National Western, only 96 will compete at the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions. Junior exhibitors, 4-H and FFA members ranging in ages from 9 to 18, bring their ribbon-winning steers, lambs, hogs and goats to be auctioned off.

The auction of Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion animals will air on 9NEWS on Friday, Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m.

Credit: Bryan Wendland
'The Purple Rider' by Terry Gardner

Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale

The Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale, a display of world-class art, is open throughout the National Western Stock Show. The gallery is located on the third floor of the show's Expo Hall. Admission is included with grounds admission. 

David Griffin is the featured artist of the 29th annual Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale.

PHOTOS: Coors Western Art Exhibit

Credit: National Western Stock Show

Horse Shows

The nation's top equine athletes come to the National Western each year to participate in one of nearly 10 horse shows. 

The Invitational Ranch Rodeo kicks off the horse show schedule on Saturday, Jan. 8. The ranch rodeo is different from pro rodeos because its contestants are not professionals, but full-time ranch hands who compete for fun and bragging rights. 

The National Western's Wild West Shows on Saturday, Jan. 15 and Sunday, Jan. 16, are a journey back to the days of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Shows with quick-draws, cowboy entertainment and pageantry. 

An Evening of Dancing Horses, presented by 9NEWS, features outstanding equestrian talent and live music from the Colorado School of Mines Music & Performing Arts Program. The shows are set for Wednesday, Jan. 19 and Thursday, Jan. 20.

Credit: National Western Stock Show

Livestock Shows

Considered the Super Bowl livestock shows, the National Western Stock Show hosts over 25 cattle breeds during its two-week run. 

Visitors to the show can watch, admire and interact with thousands of cattle, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, poultry and dogs that are exhibited for awards and prize money.

Credit: National Western Stock Show

Kids Activities

The National Western Stock Show isn't just for adults. The show has over 10 interactive and immersive programs, exhibits and events including a petting farm, dairy zone and pony rides. 

The show's activities for children promote education and entertainment through many aspects of the agriculture industry, with the help of CSU, Colorado FFA, Colorado 4-H and commodity groups.

The National Western Nursery is home to the show's most recent arrivals: cute, baby animals. Located in the Events Center, the nursery is home to mothers and their just-born babies.

Credit: National Western Stock Show

Food

The most important part of any fair, festival or expo: the food. The National Western Stock Show has all the corn dogs, burgers, pulled pork, cotton candy and deep-fried Oreos you can handle.

The 116th annual National Western Stock Show and Rodeo runs from Saturday, Jan. 8 to Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022.

Tickets to the National Western Stock Show and a full schedule of events can be found at NationalWestern.com.

9NEWS is a corporate partner of the National Western Stock Show.

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