The cowboys are here! The COWBOYS are here!
It’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Week in Las Vegas. Sin City goes country. Country music greets you at the airport. Roulette dealers look like they are headin’ to a honky tonk in Dallas. I love Rodeo Week! (It’s true, you can take the girl out of Texas but you can’t take Texas out of the girl. Did you know rodeo is a high school letter sport in Texas? But I digress.)
Attending the actual rodeo itself at Thomas & Mack Center is thrilling…but tres cher. But the best thing about Rodeo Week is almost everything else is FREE. Well, except for Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
First, attend one of the 20 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo watching parties. In the old days I would head out to one of the Strip resorts to watch the action, but now you have to pay for parking and that is against my religion. (I’m going to get political here and say I believe all Las Vegas locals should get the first 12 hours of parking FREE at every resort.)
Viewing parties typically start at 6 pm. I always get there on time to see who’s going to sing the National Anthem.
I really like the Mirage because management turns the Sports Book into one gigantic watching party.
But now I gravitate to either the Orleans Hotel and Casino or the South Point Hotel. Each has ginormous watching parties. The South Point even has its own prizes! Justin Rumford, a Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association barrelman, hosts one of the two Orleans viewing parties.
After bull riding ends, the FREE country concerts start. The Silverton show also features a mechanical bull. Even Vinyl at the Hard Rock hosts FREE country music all week.
Then, at 11 pm, head to the South Point for the Wrangler NFR Go Round Buckle presentation. Flint Rasmussen, my favorite part of the Professional Bull Riders, joins Randy Corley, the PRCA announcer, award the buckles for that round’s winners. This too is FREE. The action is in the South Point showroom.
For the next eight days, Las Vegas becomes all cowboy. Us old-timers remember when Las Vegas was a real cowboy town because ranching was a major economic pillar of Nevada. And who doesn’t like to dust off those cowboy boots every now and then?
He haw, Las Vegas. Have a GREAT week-end.
P.S. In case you’ve never been to an NFR event, this is the Super Bowl for rodeo cowboys. The top 15 money winners in the eight events compete for lots of money and those beautiful belt buckles.
P.P.S. Did you know the NFR uses special dirt? UNLV stores this dirt, beside all that knowledge, all year for use in next year’s NFR.
P.P.P.S. A lot of the animal competitors stay at the South Point.
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((hugs)) BETH Ellyn
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