National Western getting bigger and better

Two new buildings and new Yards for 2022 are just the beginning

A $1.3 billion expansion and construction project is transforming the grounds of the historic National Western Stock Show in Denver. What is now called the National Western Complex will be converted over the coming years into the National Western Center, and the massive size of the construction zone lets you know big things are coming.

Paul Andrews, president of the National Western Stock Show and Complex, understands the scope of the project will have an enormous impact on the region and believes the future National Western Center will become the epicenter of agriculture for the United States and maybe the world. But first they have to get there.

“It is a never-ending daily process,” said Andrews about his team being intimately involved (along with the city of Denver and Colorado State University) with the planning, design, construction, and renovation details and issues that accompany a billion-dollar-plus project. “Every day there is something we are talking about relating to the development.”

While new construction tends to grab the most visual attention, the infrastructure around and under the site will play a key role in making it all a success. Old railroad track has already been moved and upgraded, unsightly above ground wastewater pipelines have been removed and new pipe buried to open up South Platte riverfront access, and new roads and bridges are planned between the National Western Center and the established, working class neighborhoods across the South Platte.

Left to right, Tiana Kennedy, Assistant Vice Chancellor of External Relations for the CSU System, Andrea Burns, Chief Marketing Officer for the National Western Center, and Marcy Loughran, Chief Communications Officer of the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center stand in front of what we will be the revitalized riverfront property of the South Platte River. Photo by Lincoln Rogers

“That is something that we are most proud of is that it is more than just buildings,” said Marcy Loughran from the construction site. Loughran is the chief communications officer for the Mayor’s Office of the National Western Center, a city of Denver office that oversees 15-20 prime contractors and designers for the site, as well collaborates with CSU and the National Western Center and Complex throughout the overall project. “It is revitalizing a riverfront and creating new connectivity with the neighborhoods.”

Loughran was not alone in her assessment.

“Seeing the river from the construction site, this is the first time in generations that you will be able to access the river from this site because the wastewater pipeline and the rail (blocked that in the past),” added Andrea Burns, chief marketing officer for the National Western Center. “There are an amazing number of things happening here.”

A rear view look in June 2021 at the new HW Hutchison Family Stockyards Event Center (SYEC) from the spot which will be the future National Western Drive. Surrounding the SYEC will be 20 acres of pens in the state of the art Cille and Ron Williams Yards. "People are about to see the most advanced areas to promote and market their livestock in the history of shows," said Paul Andrews, president of the National Western Stock Show and Complex. Photo by Lincoln Rogers

Although access is restricted to the construction site for safety reasons, the general public will be able to see and experience several new buildings during the January 2022 NWSS. One is the HW Hutchison Family Stockyards Event Center, which will also be surrounded by 20 acres of reconfigured and updated space that will be the Cille and Ron Williams Yards. The new building and yards replace the old Livestock Center, the yellow metal Pepsi building, and the previous yards of the NWSS. Stock show officials are enthusiastic about these state of the art additions.

Finishing touches are being put into the Auction Arena contained within the new HW Hutchison Family Stockyards Event Center (June 2021). "It has beautiful sightlines, great acoustics, the sale managers are going to be going crazy, the auctioneers are going to think it is the greatest thing ever," said National Western Stock Show and Complex President Paul Andrews. Photo by Lincoln Rogers

“This new Stockyards Event Center building is a football field long,” said Andrews. “You can have two show arenas going simultaneously in this building and then walk through a corridor and you are in the Auction Arena. That Auction Arena can seat more than 600 people. It has beautiful sightlines, great acoustics, the sale managers are going to be going crazy and the auctioneers are going to think it is the greatest thing ever. We have got rooms the breed associations can be in to facilitate business. We’ve got hospitality areas. We have never had any of this in our past facilities.”

Work is nearly complete on the spacious Stow L. Witwer Memorial Show Arena inside the Stockyards Event Center. The Show Arena is a large indoor space that can be one arena or divided into two show rings capable of holding simultaneous shows with acoustics tested to eliminate crossover sound. The Show Arena also has bleacher seating for 836 people and a dizzying amount of other features both inside and out. Photo by Lincoln Rogers


Andrews’ enthusiasm was even greater for the Yards.

“The Yards are going to do things that no one in the world has ever done,” he said with passion. “You are going to have electricity (in the pens). You are going to have central wash rack areas with tempered water. And the Yards certainly are going to be unique to the world. There is nothing like what we are about to open here.”

The other new building that will experience a grand opening for the public during 2022’s NWSS is actually part of CSU. Three CSU buildings that will be known as CSU Spur are in construction on the National Western Center site, and the public will be able to visit and tour a gleaming Vida building during the upcoming stock show.

“Vida will be completely open to the public for the January stock show,” said Tiana Kennedy, assistant vice chancellor of external relations for the CSU System. “For people to get to go to the stock show and then make their way over and see what is happening (in the CSU Spur buildings), it is exciting. Every year they come, they are going to see something new.”

While the grounds are being transformed, they will retain vestiges of a historic past. According to Burns, the famous Livestock Exchange Building will be revitalized to “bring it back to its rightful place in the center of agriculture business in Colorado and the region.” The old Armour water tower has been moved to its current sentry spot overlooking the grounds, and the historic Armour Packing Plant building will also remain for the future. Officials foresee a mix of history and vision to propel the National Western forward for another 100 years.

A giant construction crane looms behind the historic Livestock Exchange Building on the grounds of the National Western Complex in Denver, Colo. While the old landmark will be retained and revitalized, the crane is working on a CSU Spur building, one of three that will be part of the future National Western Center. Photo by Lincoln Rogers

“January will be the first opportunity for visitors to really see a whole new kind of place emerging,” said Burns about 2022. “We’re so proud to be the forever home of the legendary National Western Stock Show, CSU Spur, and so many more year-round experiences in the coming years. With the return of the stock show and all you can see there, I think it’ll be the hottest ticket in town.”

Artist rendering of an aerial view of the completed future National Western Center. Image courtesy of the City and County of Denver.

The best 16 days in January are back

The crown jewel of Denver and Colorado’s favorite western tradition, the beloved National Western Stock Show, is back in the saddle Jan. 8-23, 2022. After a year of postponement, stock show management, staff, and all of Denver are excited to welcome fans back to the best 16 days in January. Preparations are in full swing for the biggest and best comeback in history.

The 2022 Stock Show promises to showcase all your favorite western traditions, events, and activities, plus this January marks the highly anticipated unveiling of the newly constructed Cille and Ron Williams Yards. Embodying the unique and iconic traditions of the Denver stockyards, these Yards now stretch across 20 acres of the historic site. The Yards will be back to business hosting the Super Bowl of livestock shows with more than 25 breeds of cattle, bison, yaks, longhorns and others.

The 2022 Stock Show will also celebrate the grand opening of the new 46,000 square foot HW Hutchison Family Stockyards Event Center. A centerpiece on the iconic site of the new and improved Yards, with state-of-the-art auction and show arenas, this new Stockyards Event Center will be the talk of the livestock town. The new Yards and Stockyards Event Center are part of the emerging National Western Center, the forever home of the National Western Stock Show.

Stock show is also excited to announce the return of the annual National Anthem Contest. Interested vocalists can submit a video singing the National Anthem for a chance to perform at a pro rodeo during the 2022 stock show this January. For more information visit,

Tickets to the 2022 National Western Stock Show go on sale on Sept. 18, 2021. Become a stock show Insider at and follow on social @nationalwestern for special presale ticket offers, up-to-date information on the schedule of events, and more.



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