A thousand new parking spaces may be the first sign National Western 2018 Stock Show visitors notice of the pending expansion of the complex. But as the show, now in its 112th year, looks toward the future, the 16-day line up will be a mix of old and new events Jan. 6-12.
New parking lots are available on vacant land where an International Paper Co. warehouse stood, the parking lot at a former McDonald’s, and space around a few other buildings waiting to for demolition.
“That is more spaces than we have ever had,” Paul Andrews, NWSS president said.”Acreage around us has been acquired by the city and they have started to take some of the buildings down.”
Parking will be free at NWSS lots, and shuttles will ferry attendees to venues for the rodeos (the big opener is Colorado vs The World Rodeo on Jan. 6) and other events during the show.
“They will run about every 10 minutes,” NWSS spokeswoman Karen Woods said. On weekends a Coors Field parking garage at Blake and 27th streets will also be used as free Stock Show parking with shuttle service to the show grounds to the north.
This year’s Stock Show will include the usual line-up of rodeos, mutton bustin’ kids, fiddle players vying for a championship and playing for fun, livestock auctions, Dancing Horses and a host of other events.
But there are newcomers, too.
In 2016, contributions given to the NWSS through Colorado Gives Day, an annual statewide online giving day last year for improved educational programs led to a vet camp at this year’s show for middle and high school students.
Thirty children will attend the half-day camp on Jan. 11 where they will meet with vets and learn what it takes to treat large animals that appear in rodeos and horse shows, said Karen Woods, NWSS spokeswoman.
“It starts in the morning when we meet the bus that brings them and take them to their first stop” where they meet the veterinarians, Woods said. From there they got to barns where they will learn about treating livestock and horses.
A small animal vet will also be treating dogs and other smaller critters. “Then they have lunch and they can either stay on the grounds or they can leave.”
The Xtreme Dogs show, Jan 15 and 16, will feature dogs, many of them rescue animals, running obstacle courses, playing Frisbee, even dancing, Woods said.
This year, the dogs will be joined by Sara Carson, a celebrity dog trainer, and her border collie Hero. The two have appeared on “Late Night with David Letterman,” and a host of other shows. The pair won fifth place on “America’s Got Talent” last year.
For the first time, miniature zebu cattle, a breed that originated in South Asia and grows to only 42 inches, will be on the grounds. This breed, which resembles the giant Brahma, is used for milk, meat and to act as draft animals.
Those being displayed at the Shock Show are “strictly a novelty breed born and bred for showing by young kids and to be a family pet,” Woods said. There will be a show of zebus on Jan. 9.
A Horseman’s Challenge also is new this year. The event is open to riders of all ages and ability levels. Running from Jan. 8 through Jan. 10, participants will tackle trail obstacles like bridges, poles and gates.
Admission to the Stock Show grounds runs $10 to $20 for people 12 and older, depending on the day. Children ages 3-11 are $2 to $3. Kids 2 and under are free. Family 4-packs, which include vouchers for food and drinks, start at $89. Events, such as rodeo and bull-riding events require a separate ticket, which includes grounds admission, and should be purchased in advance.
Admission to the show is free on Jan. 9. And patrons who think they might be visiting the show more than a time or two during the 16-day run can buy a $55 guest pass good for the entire run.
Find ticket details at nationalwestern.com.
Tickets — not including the family 4-pack — also can be purchased at King Soopers and some City Market stores, the National Western box office, or by phone at 866-464-2626.