With uncertainty regarding COVID impacts and resulting mandates and restrictions throughout the initial days of the 2022 NWSS, attendance numbers were depressed compared to previous years. As the stock show continued its 16-day run, visitors began showing up in larger numbers until it peaked in record breaking or near record breaking attendance figures for the last weekend of the historic event’s 116th year.
“The final Saturday of stock show was at or near an all-time record for attendance,” said NWSS President and CEO Paul Andrews. “We did 58,000 people at the final Saturday. We usually do 50,000 on that day.”
Here are just a few of the many sights, events, and activities those big crowds were able to experience over the stock show’s final weekend.
Like Tennessee barrel racer Carly Taylor flying for the timers, the final weekend of the 2022 National Western Stock Show raced by in a blur for the nearly 100,000 people who showed up to soak in the last bit of atmosphere of the historic NWSS. Whether it was rodeo, cows, horses, mules, cattle dogs, sheep, shopping and/or eating, the 116th year offered up something for everyone on the last weekend.
While the cattle may have been thinking they could make a stand against the solitary stock dog, they were wrong. The popular Cattle Dog Trials took place on the last weekend of the 2022 National Western Stock Show and drew a good crowd once more. The event was moved to the new location of the NWSS stockyards, which is next to the brand new state of the art HW Hutchison Family Stockyards Event Center.
Whether it was sculptures, paintings, photography or other art mediums, the Coors Western Art Exhibit on the top floor of the Expo Hall at the 2022 National Western Stock Show had western art to please any art fan passing through its corridors throughout the last weekend of the stock show.
Stock Show Shines has been making cowboy boots look good at the National Western Stock Show since 1958 and 2022 was no different. Cleaning and shining all kinds of boots and shoes for $10 made their location a popular destination over the final weekend of the stock show.
It was all hands on deck for the EX Express Ranches crew as they put together the crowd pleasing eight-horse team of Percherons for the draft horse show on the final Sunday of the 2022 National Western Stock Show (Jan. 23, 2022).
Families turned out in droves for the last weekend of the 2022 National Western Stock Show, taking advantage of good January weather to experience the attractions and animals of rural, agricultural, and western culture. The petting zoo on the top floor of the Expo Hall was filled with activity and energy.
A fixture at the National Western Stock Show for over 40 years, Rick Bishop of Western Traditions has been cleaning and reshaping more hats than anyone could count. Throughout the last weekend of the 2022 NWSS, the Western Traditions booth and display saw a constant stream of customers from everyone looking to get their hats in top shape at the beginning of the year, along with maybe even buying a high quality new hat from the longtime vendor.
On the last Sunday morning of the 2022 National Western Stock Show, the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys held a Cowboy Church service inside the Denver Coliseum. Church on the road is an important part of many rodeo contestants' lives, as they are away from home on the weekend to compete in major rodeos and earn a living.
On Sunday morning before the championship round of action, NWSS rodeo officials educate small groups of visitors who sign up for a "Behind the Chutes Tour" about what happens behind the scenes at a NWSS rodeo and what it takes to make it all work successfully in front of the big crowds. Behind the Chutes Tours are popular with both longtime and new rodeo fans.
Just in case you thought professional rodeo cowboys were all hard cases with ice water in their veins, successful and popular bareback cowboy Richie Champion was all nerves as he watched the last bareback rider compete in the semifinal round on Saturday afternoon. Champion was in fourth place at the time, with the top four scores advancing into the prestigious NWSS championship round the next day. If the rider in the arena scored more than Champion, the Texas cowboy would be heading home instead of competing in the NWSS' final round for a chance at the coveted buckle and a large check. Champion's suspense was for naught, as the ride fell short of his 82-point score and he qualified once more to compete in the NWSS rodeo's championship round on Sunday afternoon.
Trick rider Jessica Blair Fowlks entertained an enthusiastic afternoon rodeo crowd with feats of Roman Riding plus jumping through a ring of fire between rodeo action events on the last Saturday of the 2022 National Western Stock Show in Denver (Jan. 22, 2022).
The internationally known Westernaires filled the Denver Coliseum arena with precision riding during a break in rodeo action over the last weekend of the 2022 National Western Stock Show in Denver. The Westernaires are a tradition at the NWSS and perform at all or nearly all of the historic venue's rodeos.
The large crowds finally began showing up to the 2022 National Western Stock Show over its final weekend, where (according to NWSS officials) it either set or came close to setting attendance records compared to previous final Saturdays and Sundays of the NWSS. This collection of visitors was stopping by the food vendors on their way to and from the three semi-final pro rodeos that were held on Saturday, Jan. 22.
National Western Stock Show fans and fans of its rodeo love their country and are proud to honor and repect the American flag. The NWSS rodeo crew goes out of its way to create memorable ceremonies like this rendition of the National Anthem with the lights off and the spotlight on before the start of action during the final weekend of the 2022 NWSS. From left to right in this photo — Stock Contractor Binion Cervi, Miss Rodeo Wyoming with the NWSS flag, Miss Rodeo America in the center with the American flag, Miss Rodeo Colorado with the Colorado state flag, and NWSS President Paul Andrews.
Every year at the National Western Stock Show, rodeo fans get treated to the sight of a western stagecoach and a six-horse hitch showing up together inside the arena of the Denver Coliseum. In this photo, the stagecoach horses are galloping out of the arena under a spotlight while the six-horse hitch stays behind to provide a bit more entertainment for the big rodeo crowd on the last weekend of the 2022 NWSS.
The Yaks were in town over the final weekend of the 2022 National Western Stock Show in Denver. This one was relaxing in some Saturday morning sunshine during a stretch of good stock show weather.
Teams race against the clock and each other during the Draft Obstacle Driving contest inside the Events Center arena at the 2022 National Western Stock Show in Denver. The draft horse, mule, and donkey shows are a popular fixture over the last weekend of the NWSS.
Members of the Fassett Hay & Cattle Company from Durango, Colo., were busy in the cattle barn supervising the process, working on their clippers, and diligently prepping the legs of a heifer for an upcoming Prospect Breeding Heifer class on the last Saturday of the 2022 National Western Stock Show in Denver.
A pen of sheep nap next to the Stadium arena as they wait for a turn inside during the sheep dog trials slated to occur over the NWSS' final weekend. The pen is in a great location outside of the Expo Hall for thousands of stock show visitors and their children to get an up close look on their way to the food court and the Denver Coliseum.