The Big Rodeo

by Barry Denton

Each year in December my wife and I head to Las Vegas, Nevada for the ten-day Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR). It is our break every year from a very hectic schedule.

Rodeo time is the best time to be in Las Vegas. It is full of cowboys, cowgirls, and the majority of our friends and neighbors from the ranch, farm, and horse community. Like most folks we tend to do our Christmas shopping at the “Cowboy Christmas” trade show held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. There is nothing western for man, lady, or horse that cannot be found there. One thing about it, it takes all year to save up for the next one. During the same time there are also several good folks in town for the “World Series Of Roping” held at the South Point Casino. Needless to say, you will not be bored.

One of the first things that you encounter outside the Thomas & Mack Arena where the rodeo is held is a large outdoor bar under a tent. In the bar is a free mechanical bull ride. It is a pretty fancy one too, as the bull even comes out of a chute.

However, I would recommend a couple of beers before you ride the bull. The big draw to get you to the bar, are some hot young chicks dancing on the bar. This eliminates people complaining about standing in line to get a beer. After 20 minutes of waiting for your turn in line you say “it’s my turn already?” Since I am a semi retired horseshoer I am always trying to make a buck. So what do girls dancing on a bar like more than anything? Bar Shoes! What do semi retired horseshoers make very well? Bar Shoes? Just as I got the dancing girl’s attention to discuss my business deal, my wife tugged on my ear to remind me that the rodeo was about to start. Hey, you can’t blame a guy for wanting to make a buck!

The WNFR is one fine event for the spectator. They handle the crowds well; have great stock, wonderful talent, and the best run rodeo you have ever seen. There is never a dull moment or lack of drama during the show.

I personally love bucking horses and you will see the best ones in the country at this rodeo. They also have a specialty act of some kind at the beginning of the rodeo such as trick riders or horse acts. There is an amazing light and fireworks display too. The rodeo commences with a lady on a beautiful horse holding the American flag with a spotlight on her during the singing of our National Anthem.

The rodeo restores your faith in America as it signifies independence, hard work, dedication, family, and a multitude of traditional American values. The rodeo announcers are crafty and keep the event fast paced. I have been many times and it just keeps getting better each year.

One thing about it, Las Vegas has plenty of night life after the rodeo if you need it. Gambling, drinking, and any type of dancing that happens to interest you can be found after the rodeo. Basically any kind of vice can be fulfilled. I guess if you like trouble, it is a good place to come.

Since we are no longer considered the youth of America we still like to get to bed fairly early. What you do not realize is that when normal folks are going to bed, Las Vegas is not. However, when you get up at 6:00 a.m. you have the entire hotel to yourself. At 9:00 a.m the trade show opens and after I find my wife something nice for Christmas I tend to go looking for business opportunities.

I have been married long enough to know that ladies need time to shop and mull things over. Being the gentleman that I am, that is just what I let her do. It just so happened that this year I found a couple of pretty young gals that had a topless shoe shine business. I kid you not.

After being in the shoe business for forty years myself, I was terribly interested in this enterprise. By the time my wife was finished shopping I had gotten three pairs of my boots shined. When I went to pick her up she noticed my super shiny boots right away. She said “I am so glad you got those old boots shined. I never thought you would spend the money.” I replied that “I was just helping some young kids get their new business going.”

All I know is that we go back to the rodeo every year and each year we have a great time. The people and livestock are exceptional. Put it on your list for next year! It’s fun!