This Isn’t My First Rodeo
If it’s December in Las Vegas it can mean only one thing…time to “Cowboy Up!” The NFR the “Super Bowl of Rodeo” is about to descend upon our fair city like a Texas Twister ripping off rooftops in F-5 fashion. It’s going to be whirlwind for 10 days, so batten down the hatches, strap yourself in, hold on tight, and get ready for one heckuva ride.
It was just a mere two years ago that Las Vegas was in jeopardy of losing the National Finals Rodeo, the single largest event that takes place during the month of December. As a Las Vegas DMC in the know, if it were not for the cowboys; Las Vegas would turn into a ghost town during the month of Claus as there are no major citywide conventions. We’re talking zero, donut, bagel, nunzie…dunzie. Vegas and the NFR go together like peas & carrots, like Forrest & Jenny, like Jon Bon Jovi & Richie Sambora…”Shot through the heart, and you’re to blame, darling you give love a bad name.” (Sorry, I got off on a tangent.) You get the idea.
FAB FACT: THE NFR draws more than $90 million in nongaming revenue to Las Vegas.
An Era Begins.
Las Vegas visionary Benny Binion, along with Las Vegas Events and its then-president, Herb McDonald, had an eye on bringing the NFR to Las Vegas. But Oklahoma City, which had hosted the event for 20 years, was not about to let it go without a fight. It helped that McDonald and LVE guaranteed the rodeo a prize fund of $1.8 million to the cowboys and $700,000 to the contractors – compared to the $900,000 and $200,000, respectively, that was paid in Oklahoma City in 1984.
In December of 1984, McDonald and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce each made their final pitches to the PRCA Board of Directors. The vote was a 5-5 tie. Thus it was left to then-PRCA president Shawn Davis, a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, to cast the deciding vote. He cast it for Las Vegas.
FAB FACT: LVE guarantees $16.5 million annually in purse and sponsorship dollars to the PRCA, including a total contestants’ purse package of $10 million and another $3 million to the event’s stock contractors from 2015-2019.
Numbers Don’t Lie.
The first NFR was first held in 1985 – and what a history it has been. The rodeo has been an integral part of the Las Vegas success story over the past two decades, a time period that has seen the city’s population jump from 590,000 to 1.7 million, and its annual number of visitors from 14.2 million to some 37 million. Also during that period, Las Vegas meeting space and total room inventory has jumped significantly from 53,000 in 1985 to more than 135,000 total rooms today.
FAB FACT: The NFR has a string of 290 straight sellouts!
Shop ‘Til You Drop.
I’ve spent a fortune on designer handbags, cosmetics, and shoes. The rest, I’ve just squandered! I’m ready to start my holiday shopping at Cowboy Christmas…who’s money can I use?
The popular Cowboy Christmas returns with expanded space and product offerings. The show, which runs concurrently with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, is set for Dec. 3 – 12, inside the South Halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center and includes live music and special guests, competitive rodeo arena events, interactive displays and the NFR Social Arena.
Free to the public, Cowboy Christmas will be open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. To add to the overall experience, RMEF’s Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo will be co-located upstairs in the South Halls from Cowboy Christmas. The RMEF show will expand from four days to a full ten days this year, with a goal to become the most successful outdoor and hunting-related expo in the United States.
Launched in 1986 and designated as the only official Gift Show of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Cowboy Christmas features more wares to keep even the most avid shopper entertained all ten days. With just under 450,000 square feet of show floor and approximately 400 exhibitors from across the United States, the show will feature unique products, including custom-made jewelry, western wear, boots and spurs, furniture, original art, handmade crafts and home goods. Attendees will also find the best source for the official Wrangler NFR and PRCA merchandise. Can you say “Buckle Bunny?”
FAB FACT: Cowboy Christmas brought record crowds to the Las Vegas Convention Center over the ten days in 2014. Total attendance reached 200,179, surpassing the previous record attendance of 196,856 set in 2013.
“Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)”
Country music duo Big & Rich join the nine days of Las Vegas entertainment production at the Golden Nugget during the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The duo of Big Kenny and John Rich perform at the downtown Las Vegas resort on Dec. 4.
The Nashville duo combined their music careers in the late ’90s and released their first album, “Horse of a Different Color,” in 2004. Some of their biggest hits include “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),” “8th of November” and “Lost in this Moment.”
Even with a relatively short career, the two have earned nominations for a CMA Award for vocal duo of the year, an ACM Award for top vocal duo and CMT Music Award for duo video of the year for “That’s Why I Pray.”
Other performers on the docket include Tanya Tucker on Dec. 3; Trace Adkins on Dec. 5; Terri Clark on Dec. 6; Merle Haggard on Dec. 7 and 8; LeAnn Rimes on Dec. 9; and Alabama on Dec. 10 and 11.
FAB FACT: Alabama is the most awarded band in the history of country music, with over 200 awards from a variety of organizations.
Mmmnnnnmmmmmm dup dup mmmnnnnmmmmm
Happy trails to you,
Until we meet again,
Happy trails to you,
Keep smiling on til then
Who ( Oooh ) cares about the clouds when we’re together
Just ( Aaah ) sing a song an’ think bout sunny weather
Happy trails to you,
Til we meet again
BTW, my boot size for a pair of Caimans is 6, and I wear a 6¾ for a Bullhide Euphoria Wool Cowgirl Hat…just sayin’.