The cowboys are here! The Cowboys are here!
The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo arrived today in all its glory. These are my favorite 10 days in Las Vegas because the city has gone country. Even the blackjack dealers wear jeans and country music overtakes the casino floors.
P.S. If you’ve never been, watch George Strait’s movie Pure Country.
However, there is NOTHING FREE about the WNFR itself. Tickets can equal a car payment, assuming you can find one.
And the entertainment is equally pricey from George Strait to Lynerd Skynerd.
But there are plenty of ancillary activities that are FREE. Buckle up ’cause here we go.
The BEST FREE Country Concert West of the Rio Grande (Downtown)
I am publishing a day early so I can tell you about the Downtown Hoedown. This is a FREE concert at the Fremont Street Experience. The concert kicks off the FREE WNFR events.
The alley is packed with cowboy hats from all of the world to hear country greats perform live. Here is this year’s line up:
- Neal McCoy: 5:15
- Lainey Wilson: 6:45
- Nate Smith: 8:15
- Headline Scotty McCreary: 9:30
Get there early or trust me, you will be left in the dust.
The Best Watch Parties (South and Strip)
Nothing beats being in the arena in person. You can feel the excitement. You can smell the animals. Rodeo!
But the next best thing is the watch parties at the local casinos. My favorite has always been the South Point Hotel Casino and Spa. It’s called the “Ram Rodeo Tailgate Party.” In years past the hotel actually gave away a Ram truck to one lucky viewer. Don’t know if that’s part of the plan this year.
There are actually two different places at the South Point to watch the WNRF: The Grand Ballroom upstairs and the South Point Showroom on the casino floor.
The Grand Ballroom is the place to be. Literally hundreds of fans in their blue jean best–who know all the contestants–cheer every great action and groan with pain when someone bites the dust.
You sit at tables of 10. Great place to meet new friends.
During the commercials there is entertainment. Games that double as comedy.
The live feed starts at 5:45. FREE.
If you’ve never been to a rodeo, this is the next best place to check it out.
Virgin Hotel Las Vegas‘s 24 Oxford is the official hotel for WNFR watch parties. The feed starts at 5:45.
Afterwards, there is live music. The party starts at 9:30. Here is the schedule.
- Thursday Dec. 1 – Easton Corbin
- Friday Dec. 2 – Dillon Carmichael
- Saturday Dec. 3 – Glen Templeton
- Sunday Dec. 4 – Dan Smalley
- Monday Dec. 5 – Will Jones
- Tuesday Dec. 6 – Ben Gallaher
- Wednesday Dec. 7 – Wyatt McCubbin
- Thursday Dec. 8 – Special Guest Performance
- Friday Dec. 9 – Joe Nichols
- Saturday Dec. 10 – Heath Sanders
Joe Nichols sang the best country song ever: “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” But I digress.
All ages welcome at the South Point. Must be 21 at Virgin.
FREE parking at both spots.
More FREE Live Country Music (South)
Ned Ledoux must love WNFR because this is the sixth year he’s giving a FREE concert in Las Vegas.
How do you know that name? Because he is Chris Ladoux‘s son. And we country music lovers know Chris from both his own music and Garth Brooks‘s songs. Ned played drums in his dad’s band until he stopped touring and passed.
Veil is a great place for a concert. It’s really an outdoor venue that’s inside a willowy tent thing.
Doors open at 9. It’s first come, first serve. FREE. You must be 21.
Have a great week-end, Las Vegas.
((hugs)) BETH Ellyn
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