The National Western Stock Show is back!  

The National Western Stock Show, the premier livestock, rodeo and horse show in the United States, is a nationally-recognized celebration of western heritage and culture.

The 113th annual edition opens Thursday with the Stock Show Kick-Off Parade through the streets of downtown Denver.

Whether you're a native Coloradan or a transplant to the Centennial State, you can't miss this annual event, which runs through January 27 at the National Western Complex and Denver Coliseum at I-70 and Brighton Blvd.

Here are 9Things to Do, see and explore this year:  

National Western Stock Show 2019
Alex Kirk, KUSA

Explore the Grounds

With 900 spaces of fine art, jewelry, clothing, household items and agricultural products and equipment, the western trade show at the National Western is Colorado's largest. The vendors are spread throughout the National Western Complex. Exploring all of the vendors can take more than a day, so enjoy some food and stay hydrated. 

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 Thursday, Jan. 17

This year's Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza, featuring Mexican-style bull riding, bareback riding, trick roping and Mariachis, will be held twice on Sunday, Jan. 13. 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. 21. The history and heritage of America's black cowboys will be celebrated with competitions in the Pony Express relay, ladies’ steer un-decorating as well as more traditional rodeo events. 

The 2019 Professional Bull Riders Real Time Pain Relief Velocity Tour will stop at the National Western for shows on Monday, Jan. 14 and Tuesday, Jan. 15. The PBR features the top athletes, fiercest bulls and high-energy sound, lighting and special effects.

The Pink Rodeo, a special rodeo event to help raise awareness for breast cancer research, is set for Saturday, Jan. 26.

Junior Livestock Auction

Thousands of junior market animals will compete at this year's National Western, but only 96 will compete at the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions. Junior exhibitors, 4-H and FFA members ranging in age 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. 25 at 6:30 p.m.

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 3rd floor of the show's Expo Hall. Admission is included with grounds admission. 

This year's featured artist is Terry Gardner, a Morrison artist now in his 15th year in the Coors Western Art Exhibit. 

READ MORE | Coors Western Art Exhibit 

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. 12. 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. 19 and Sunday, Jan. 20, are a journey back to the days of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Shows with quickdraws, cowboy entertainment and pageantry. 

An Evening of Dancing Horses, presented by 9NEWS, features outstanding equestrian talent and live music from the Denver School of the Arts Orchestra. The shows are set for Wednesday, Jan. 23 and Thursday, Jan. 24.

Livestock Shows

Considered the "Super Bowl of Livestock Shows," the National Western Stock Show hosts nearly 20 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 which are exhibited for awards and prize money. 

Kids Activities

The National Western Stock Show isn't just for adults. Kids love the Children's Hospital Colorado Ranchland, located on the 3rd floor of the Expo Hall. The area features a petting farm, pony rides, youth art contest and Colorado State University Ag Adventure. 

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.

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. 

Parade

The annual Stock Show Kick-Off Parade is an annual Colorado tradition, with dozens of longhorns walking the streets of downtown Denver. The cattle drive/parade starts at Union Station and continues down 17th Street and ends at 17th and Tremont.

This year's parade takes place Thursday, Jan. 10 at noon

National Western Stock Show  farmyard follies kids show
National Western Stock Show

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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