National Western Stock Show is 105 Years Young | TheFencePost.com

National Western Stock Show is 105 Years Young

Big name cowboys like Luke Branquinho come to the NWSS every year for the prestige and the big purse.

With more than a century of tradition and memories behind it, Denver’s National Western Stock Show (NWSS) continues its long ride with the promise of excitement and entertainment in the trail ahead.

“This is our 105th year in operation (and) this show continues to grow,” said Marvin Witt, the NWSS V.P. of Operations. “Twenty years ago we had about 22 ticketed performances; in 2011 we’ll have 43 ticketed performances.”

In their efforts to make the event bigger and better than ever, NWSS officials are always on the lookout for ways to bring a Denver flair to the western heritage on display for over 600,000 visitors during its two-week run, and 2011 is no different.

“I’m very much excited about (the horse shows),” continued Witt as he described some changes for 2011. “The Wild West Show, we have two performances of that (and) the staff here has taken over the production; we’re producing that in-house. We’re the producers just like Bill Cody was 110 years ago and the staff is very excited about that. It’s new, we’ve changed it and it’s exciting. We’ve also got a new look in An Evening With Dancing Horses. So when I look at the horse shows, I’m excited.”

One ticketed event packing crowds into the 5,000-seat Coors Events Center every year is the popular freestyle reining competition. It is a must see show for the western performance horse enthusiast, drawing top-notch horses, riders and creativity from throughout the region.

“The reining freestyle is always sold out in advance (and) our audience is great,” said a NWSS horse show official several years ago. “We have a very educated and enthusiastic reining-based crowd here. Everybody knows what they’re looking for – everybody knows what a lead change is – and they know when the riders get plusses in their scores. I’m real proud of our crowd. It’s the best crowd in the nation, by far.”

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It’s not only boasts the best crowd; it’s also been described by competitors as the best field of riders.

“By far, this is the most competitive freestyle in the country,” said Wray, Colo., reiner Drake Johnson after 2010’s event. “I’ve shown everywhere and I’ve won about every competition there is, and out of the field here, there’s probably about 10 riders where any one of the 10 could win this. I don’t know if the people here really realize sometimes what they really get to see. The caliber of horses that are shown here, the showmen that perform … everybody seems to do very well.”

Although horses and horse shows do well at the NWSS, the attached stockyards are a big draw for visitors and are a foundation of the world famous venue. After all, without the stockyards, there would be no stock show.

“When this show was started 105 years ago, that was the cornerstone of what made the National Western Stock Show,” stated Witt regarding the importance of the cattle show and the historic attached NWSS stockyards. “So we always are very proud of the heritage we see in (our) stockyards. Over the years we’ve seen stockyards disappear (in other cities), being torn down, bulldozed down. This is the only one standing left. If you’re old enough to remember the Days of Chicago, which was the granddaddy of them all, that’s gone. Kansas City has 20 pens left or thereabouts. Omaha is gone. Fort Worth is gone. All these are all gone, as far as the stockyards. This is the only one that’s actively running during the month of January. We’re extremely proud to be able to keep that going. The interesting part is that there’s going to be no room in the inn this year,” he added with a good-natured laugh before continuing his outlook on the cattle side of the upcoming NWSS. “We look for a full yards here in 2011. We’re seeing a lot of interest in the heifer industry and heifers being shown in the pens in the yards, which is something new. We’ve made a big change in the herd sire pens this year, so we’re extremely excited about that. People are going to be able to come here and look at the new genetics that are in the cattle industry. They are all going to be on display here at the NWSS.”

While innovative ideas and a surge in growth is a trend NWSS insiders want to continue, the long-time show wasn’t always a guaranteed success. In its early years, the stock show relied upon the Denver Union stockyards and meat packers to keep its doors open. It has become a self-sustaining operation in the 21st century due in large part to the revenue stream generated by its high-profile rodeo. From humble beginnings inside a brick stadium 80 years ago in 1931, the January rodeo now ranks among the top PRCA rodeo events for the entire year.

“I think the rodeo is absolutely critical (to the NWSS),” said NWSS President and CEO, Pat Grant when the stock show celebrated its 100th anniversary. “As a practical business matter, it is hard to run a horse and stock show in a positive cash flow. We’ve got to have the funding that arises from a top-quality rodeo.”

That top-notch rodeo draws big crowds who come to watch high-profile cowboys vie for a purse in excess of $500,000. Despite a tough couple of economic years, the rodeo has generated increased ticket sales and, if interest from rodeo cowboys is any indication, it appears poised for another breakout in 2011.

“We have 132 positions in the saddle bronc riding and 132 positions in the bull riding and (December 15th) we got the final numbers in,” started Witt on the topic of the rodeo’s popularity. “We had 163 saddle bronc riders wanting to garner one of those 132 positions and we had 183 bull riders trying to get one of those 132 positions. What we’re seeing in those two riding events, we’re seeing a sizeable increase in interest in competition in those events in the NWSS rodeo.”

The best summary of what to expect for 2011’s version of the NWSS comes straight from the top, and it’s a reminder of how lucky this region is to have a chance to attend the historic event every single year.

“Nobody has the top quality combination stock show, rodeo and horse show in the world like we do,” declared Grant. “Nobody has the uniqueness of our National Western Stock Show and our stock yards.”

With more than a century of tradition and memories behind it, Denver’s National Western Stock Show (NWSS) continues its long ride with the promise of excitement and entertainment in the trail ahead.

“This is our 105th year in operation (and) this show continues to grow,” said Marvin Witt, the NWSS V.P. of Operations. “Twenty years ago we had about 22 ticketed performances; in 2011 we’ll have 43 ticketed performances.”

In their efforts to make the event bigger and better than ever, NWSS officials are always on the lookout for ways to bring a Denver flair to the western heritage on display for over 600,000 visitors during its two-week run, and 2011 is no different.

“I’m very much excited about (the horse shows),” continued Witt as he described some changes for 2011. “The Wild West Show, we have two performances of that (and) the staff here has taken over the production; we’re producing that in-house. We’re the producers just like Bill Cody was 110 years ago and the staff is very excited about that. It’s new, we’ve changed it and it’s exciting. We’ve also got a new look in An Evening With Dancing Horses. So when I look at the horse shows, I’m excited.”

One ticketed event packing crowds into the 5,000-seat Coors Events Center every year is the popular freestyle reining competition. It is a must see show for the western performance horse enthusiast, drawing top-notch horses, riders and creativity from throughout the region.

“The reining freestyle is always sold out in advance (and) our audience is great,” said a NWSS horse show official several years ago. “We have a very educated and enthusiastic reining-based crowd here. Everybody knows what they’re looking for – everybody knows what a lead change is – and they know when the riders get plusses in their scores. I’m real proud of our crowd. It’s the best crowd in the nation, by far.”

It’s not only boasts the best crowd; it’s also been described by competitors as the best field of riders.

“By far, this is the most competitive freestyle in the country,” said Wray, Colo., reiner Drake Johnson after 2010’s event. “I’ve shown everywhere and I’ve won about every competition there is, and out of the field here, there’s probably about 10 riders where any one of the 10 could win this. I don’t know if the people here really realize sometimes what they really get to see. The caliber of horses that are shown here, the showmen that perform … everybody seems to do very well.”

Although horses and horse shows do well at the NWSS, the attached stockyards are a big draw for visitors and are a foundation of the world famous venue. After all, without the stockyards, there would be no stock show.

“When this show was started 105 years ago, that was the cornerstone of what made the National Western Stock Show,” stated Witt regarding the importance of the cattle show and the historic attached NWSS stockyards. “So we always are very proud of the heritage we see in (our) stockyards. Over the years we’ve seen stockyards disappear (in other cities), being torn down, bulldozed down. This is the only one standing left. If you’re old enough to remember the Days of Chicago, which was the granddaddy of them all, that’s gone. Kansas City has 20 pens left or thereabouts. Omaha is gone. Fort Worth is gone. All these are all gone, as far as the stockyards. This is the only one that’s actively running during the month of January. We’re extremely proud to be able to keep that going. The interesting part is that there’s going to be no room in the inn this year,” he added with a good-natured laugh before continuing his outlook on the cattle side of the upcoming NWSS. “We look for a full yards here in 2011. We’re seeing a lot of interest in the heifer industry and heifers being shown in the pens in the yards, which is something new. We’ve made a big change in the herd sire pens this year, so we’re extremely excited about that. People are going to be able to come here and look at the new genetics that are in the cattle industry. They are all going to be on display here at the NWSS.”

While innovative ideas and a surge in growth is a trend NWSS insiders want to continue, the long-time show wasn’t always a guaranteed success. In its early years, the stock show relied upon the Denver Union stockyards and meat packers to keep its doors open. It has become a self-sustaining operation in the 21st century due in large part to the revenue stream generated by its high-profile rodeo. From humble beginnings inside a brick stadium 80 years ago in 1931, the January rodeo now ranks among the top PRCA rodeo events for the entire year.

“I think the rodeo is absolutely critical (to the NWSS),” said NWSS President and CEO, Pat Grant when the stock show celebrated its 100th anniversary. “As a practical business matter, it is hard to run a horse and stock show in a positive cash flow. We’ve got to have the funding that arises from a top-quality rodeo.”

That top-notch rodeo draws big crowds who come to watch high-profile cowboys vie for a purse in excess of $500,000. Despite a tough couple of economic years, the rodeo has generated increased ticket sales and, if interest from rodeo cowboys is any indication, it appears poised for another breakout in 2011.

“We have 132 positions in the saddle bronc riding and 132 positions in the bull riding and (December 15th) we got the final numbers in,” started Witt on the topic of the rodeo’s popularity. “We had 163 saddle bronc riders wanting to garner one of those 132 positions and we had 183 bull riders trying to get one of those 132 positions. What we’re seeing in those two riding events, we’re seeing a sizeable increase in interest in competition in those events in the NWSS rodeo.”

The best summary of what to expect for 2011’s version of the NWSS comes straight from the top, and it’s a reminder of how lucky this region is to have a chance to attend the historic event every single year.

“Nobody has the top quality combination stock show, rodeo and horse show in the world like we do,” declared Grant. “Nobody has the uniqueness of our National Western Stock Show and our stock yards.”

With more than a century of tradition and memories behind it, Denver’s National Western Stock Show (NWSS) continues its long ride with the promise of excitement and entertainment in the trail ahead.

“This is our 105th year in operation (and) this show continues to grow,” said Marvin Witt, the NWSS V.P. of Operations. “Twenty years ago we had about 22 ticketed performances; in 2011 we’ll have 43 ticketed performances.”

In their efforts to make the event bigger and better than ever, NWSS officials are always on the lookout for ways to bring a Denver flair to the western heritage on display for over 600,000 visitors during its two-week run, and 2011 is no different.

“I’m very much excited about (the horse shows),” continued Witt as he described some changes for 2011. “The Wild West Show, we have two performances of that (and) the staff here has taken over the production; we’re producing that in-house. We’re the producers just like Bill Cody was 110 years ago and the staff is very excited about that. It’s new, we’ve changed it and it’s exciting. We’ve also got a new look in An Evening With Dancing Horses. So when I look at the horse shows, I’m excited.”

One ticketed event packing crowds into the 5,000-seat Coors Events Center every year is the popular freestyle reining competition. It is a must see show for the western performance horse enthusiast, drawing top-notch horses, riders and creativity from throughout the region.

“The reining freestyle is always sold out in advance (and) our audience is great,” said a NWSS horse show official several years ago. “We have a very educated and enthusiastic reining-based crowd here. Everybody knows what they’re looking for – everybody knows what a lead change is – and they know when the riders get plusses in their scores. I’m real proud of our crowd. It’s the best crowd in the nation, by far.”

It’s not only boasts the best crowd; it’s also been described by competitors as the best field of riders.

“By far, this is the most competitive freestyle in the country,” said Wray, Colo., reiner Drake Johnson after 2010’s event. “I’ve shown everywhere and I’ve won about every competition there is, and out of the field here, there’s probably about 10 riders where any one of the 10 could win this. I don’t know if the people here really realize sometimes what they really get to see. The caliber of horses that are shown here, the showmen that perform … everybody seems to do very well.”

Although horses and horse shows do well at the NWSS, the attached stockyards are a big draw for visitors and are a foundation of the world famous venue. After all, without the stockyards, there would be no stock show.

“When this show was started 105 years ago, that was the cornerstone of what made the National Western Stock Show,” stated Witt regarding the importance of the cattle show and the historic attached NWSS stockyards. “So we always are very proud of the heritage we see in (our) stockyards. Over the years we’ve seen stockyards disappear (in other cities), being torn down, bulldozed down. This is the only one standing left. If you’re old enough to remember the Days of Chicago, which was the granddaddy of them all, that’s gone. Kansas City has 20 pens left or thereabouts. Omaha is gone. Fort Worth is gone. All these are all gone, as far as the stockyards. This is the only one that’s actively running during the month of January. We’re extremely proud to be able to keep that going. The interesting part is that there’s going to be no room in the inn this year,” he added with a good-natured laugh before continuing his outlook on the cattle side of the upcoming NWSS. “We look for a full yards here in 2011. We’re seeing a lot of interest in the heifer industry and heifers being shown in the pens in the yards, which is something new. We’ve made a big change in the herd sire pens this year, so we’re extremely excited about that. People are going to be able to come here and look at the new genetics that are in the cattle industry. They are all going to be on display here at the NWSS.”

While innovative ideas and a surge in growth is a trend NWSS insiders want to continue, the long-time show wasn’t always a guaranteed success. In its early years, the stock show relied upon the Denver Union stockyards and meat packers to keep its doors open. It has become a self-sustaining operation in the 21st century due in large part to the revenue stream generated by its high-profile rodeo. From humble beginnings inside a brick stadium 80 years ago in 1931, the January rodeo now ranks among the top PRCA rodeo events for the entire year.

“I think the rodeo is absolutely critical (to the NWSS),” said NWSS President and CEO, Pat Grant when the stock show celebrated its 100th anniversary. “As a practical business matter, it is hard to run a horse and stock show in a positive cash flow. We’ve got to have the funding that arises from a top-quality rodeo.”

That top-notch rodeo draws big crowds who come to watch high-profile cowboys vie for a purse in excess of $500,000. Despite a tough couple of economic years, the rodeo has generated increased ticket sales and, if interest from rodeo cowboys is any indication, it appears poised for another breakout in 2011.

“We have 132 positions in the saddle bronc riding and 132 positions in the bull riding and (December 15th) we got the final numbers in,” started Witt on the topic of the rodeo’s popularity. “We had 163 saddle bronc riders wanting to garner one of those 132 positions and we had 183 bull riders trying to get one of those 132 positions. What we’re seeing in those two riding events, we’re seeing a sizeable increase in interest in competition in those events in the NWSS rodeo.”

The best summary of what to expect for 2011’s version of the NWSS comes straight from the top, and it’s a reminder of how lucky this region is to have a chance to attend the historic event every single year.

“Nobody has the top quality combination stock show, rodeo and horse show in the world like we do,” declared Grant. “Nobody has the uniqueness of our National Western Stock Show and our stock yards.”

With more than a century of tradition and memories behind it, Denver’s National Western Stock Show (NWSS) continues its long ride with the promise of excitement and entertainment in the trail ahead.

“This is our 105th year in operation (and) this show continues to grow,” said Marvin Witt, the NWSS V.P. of Operations. “Twenty years ago we had about 22 ticketed performances; in 2011 we’ll have 43 ticketed performances.”

In their efforts to make the event bigger and better than ever, NWSS officials are always on the lookout for ways to bring a Denver flair to the western heritage on display for over 600,000 visitors during its two-week run, and 2011 is no different.

“I’m very much excited about (the horse shows),” continued Witt as he described some changes for 2011. “The Wild West Show, we have two performances of that (and) the staff here has taken over the production; we’re producing that in-house. We’re the producers just like Bill Cody was 110 years ago and the staff is very excited about that. It’s new, we’ve changed it and it’s exciting. We’ve also got a new look in An Evening With Dancing Horses. So when I look at the horse shows, I’m excited.”

One ticketed event packing crowds into the 5,000-seat Coors Events Center every year is the popular freestyle reining competition. It is a must see show for the western performance horse enthusiast, drawing top-notch horses, riders and creativity from throughout the region.

“The reining freestyle is always sold out in advance (and) our audience is great,” said a NWSS horse show official several years ago. “We have a very educated and enthusiastic reining-based crowd here. Everybody knows what they’re looking for – everybody knows what a lead change is – and they know when the riders get plusses in their scores. I’m real proud of our crowd. It’s the best crowd in the nation, by far.”

It’s not only boasts the best crowd; it’s also been described by competitors as the best field of riders.

“By far, this is the most competitive freestyle in the country,” said Wray, Colo., reiner Drake Johnson after 2010’s event. “I’ve shown everywhere and I’ve won about every competition there is, and out of the field here, there’s probably about 10 riders where any one of the 10 could win this. I don’t know if the people here really realize sometimes what they really get to see. The caliber of horses that are shown here, the showmen that perform … everybody seems to do very well.”

Although horses and horse shows do well at the NWSS, the attached stockyards are a big draw for visitors and are a foundation of the world famous venue. After all, without the stockyards, there would be no stock show.

“When this show was started 105 years ago, that was the cornerstone of what made the National Western Stock Show,” stated Witt regarding the importance of the cattle show and the historic attached NWSS stockyards. “So we always are very proud of the heritage we see in (our) stockyards. Over the years we’ve seen stockyards disappear (in other cities), being torn down, bulldozed down. This is the only one standing left. If you’re old enough to remember the Days of Chicago, which was the granddaddy of them all, that’s gone. Kansas City has 20 pens left or thereabouts. Omaha is gone. Fort Worth is gone. All these are all gone, as far as the stockyards. This is the only one that’s actively running during the month of January. We’re extremely proud to be able to keep that going. The interesting part is that there’s going to be no room in the inn this year,” he added with a good-natured laugh before continuing his outlook on the cattle side of the upcoming NWSS. “We look for a full yards here in 2011. We’re seeing a lot of interest in the heifer industry and heifers being shown in the pens in the yards, which is something new. We’ve made a big change in the herd sire pens this year, so we’re extremely excited about that. People are going to be able to come here and look at the new genetics that are in the cattle industry. They are all going to be on display here at the NWSS.”

While innovative ideas and a surge in growth is a trend NWSS insiders want to continue, the long-time show wasn’t always a guaranteed success. In its early years, the stock show relied upon the Denver Union stockyards and meat packers to keep its doors open. It has become a self-sustaining operation in the 21st century due in large part to the revenue stream generated by its high-profile rodeo. From humble beginnings inside a brick stadium 80 years ago in 1931, the January rodeo now ranks among the top PRCA rodeo events for the entire year.

“I think the rodeo is absolutely critical (to the NWSS),” said NWSS President and CEO, Pat Grant when the stock show celebrated its 100th anniversary. “As a practical business matter, it is hard to run a horse and stock show in a positive cash flow. We’ve got to have the funding that arises from a top-quality rodeo.”

That top-notch rodeo draws big crowds who come to watch high-profile cowboys vie for a purse in excess of $500,000. Despite a tough couple of economic years, the rodeo has generated increased ticket sales and, if interest from rodeo cowboys is any indication, it appears poised for another breakout in 2011.

“We have 132 positions in the saddle bronc riding and 132 positions in the bull riding and (December 15th) we got the final numbers in,” started Witt on the topic of the rodeo’s popularity. “We had 163 saddle bronc riders wanting to garner one of those 132 positions and we had 183 bull riders trying to get one of those 132 positions. What we’re seeing in those two riding events, we’re seeing a sizeable increase in interest in competition in those events in the NWSS rodeo.”

The best summary of what to expect for 2011’s version of the NWSS comes straight from the top, and it’s a reminder of how lucky this region is to have a chance to attend the historic event every single year.

“Nobody has the top quality combination stock show, rodeo and horse show in the world like we do,” declared Grant. “Nobody has the uniqueness of our National Western Stock Show and our stock yards.”

With more than a century of tradition and memories behind it, Denver’s National Western Stock Show (NWSS) continues its long ride with the promise of excitement and entertainment in the trail ahead.

“This is our 105th year in operation (and) this show continues to grow,” said Marvin Witt, the NWSS V.P. of Operations. “Twenty years ago we had about 22 ticketed performances; in 2011 we’ll have 43 ticketed performances.”

In their efforts to make the event bigger and better than ever, NWSS officials are always on the lookout for ways to bring a Denver flair to the western heritage on display for over 600,000 visitors during its two-week run, and 2011 is no different.

“I’m very much excited about (the horse shows),” continued Witt as he described some changes for 2011. “The Wild West Show, we have two performances of that (and) the staff here has taken over the production; we’re producing that in-house. We’re the producers just like Bill Cody was 110 years ago and the staff is very excited about that. It’s new, we’ve changed it and it’s exciting. We’ve also got a new look in An Evening With Dancing Horses. So when I look at the horse shows, I’m excited.”

One ticketed event packing crowds into the 5,000-seat Coors Events Center every year is the popular freestyle reining competition. It is a must see show for the western performance horse enthusiast, drawing top-notch horses, riders and creativity from throughout the region.

“The reining freestyle is always sold out in advance (and) our audience is great,” said a NWSS horse show official several years ago. “We have a very educated and enthusiastic reining-based crowd here. Everybody knows what they’re looking for – everybody knows what a lead change is – and they know when the riders get plusses in their scores. I’m real proud of our crowd. It’s the best crowd in the nation, by far.”

It’s not only boasts the best crowd; it’s also been described by competitors as the best field of riders.

“By far, this is the most competitive freestyle in the country,” said Wray, Colo., reiner Drake Johnson after 2010’s event. “I’ve shown everywhere and I’ve won about every competition there is, and out of the field here, there’s probably about 10 riders where any one of the 10 could win this. I don’t know if the people here really realize sometimes what they really get to see. The caliber of horses that are shown here, the showmen that perform … everybody seems to do very well.”

Although horses and horse shows do well at the NWSS, the attached stockyards are a big draw for visitors and are a foundation of the world famous venue. After all, without the stockyards, there would be no stock show.

“When this show was started 105 years ago, that was the cornerstone of what made the National Western Stock Show,” stated Witt regarding the importance of the cattle show and the historic attached NWSS stockyards. “So we always are very proud of the heritage we see in (our) stockyards. Over the years we’ve seen stockyards disappear (in other cities), being torn down, bulldozed down. This is the only one standing left. If you’re old enough to remember the Days of Chicago, which was the granddaddy of them all, that’s gone. Kansas City has 20 pens left or thereabouts. Omaha is gone. Fort Worth is gone. All these are all gone, as far as the stockyards. This is the only one that’s actively running during the month of January. We’re extremely proud to be able to keep that going. The interesting part is that there’s going to be no room in the inn this year,” he added with a good-natured laugh before continuing his outlook on the cattle side of the upcoming NWSS. “We look for a full yards here in 2011. We’re seeing a lot of interest in the heifer industry and heifers being shown in the pens in the yards, which is something new. We’ve made a big change in the herd sire pens this year, so we’re extremely excited about that. People are going to be able to come here and look at the new genetics that are in the cattle industry. They are all going to be on display here at the NWSS.”

While innovative ideas and a surge in growth is a trend NWSS insiders want to continue, the long-time show wasn’t always a guaranteed success. In its early years, the stock show relied upon the Denver Union stockyards and meat packers to keep its doors open. It has become a self-sustaining operation in the 21st century due in large part to the revenue stream generated by its high-profile rodeo. From humble beginnings inside a brick stadium 80 years ago in 1931, the January rodeo now ranks among the top PRCA rodeo events for the entire year.

“I think the rodeo is absolutely critical (to the NWSS),” said NWSS President and CEO, Pat Grant when the stock show celebrated its 100th anniversary. “As a practical business matter, it is hard to run a horse and stock show in a positive cash flow. We’ve got to have the funding that arises from a top-quality rodeo.”

That top-notch rodeo draws big crowds who come to watch high-profile cowboys vie for a purse in excess of $500,000. Despite a tough couple of economic years, the rodeo has generated increased ticket sales and, if interest from rodeo cowboys is any indication, it appears poised for another breakout in 2011.

“We have 132 positions in the saddle bronc riding and 132 positions in the bull riding and (December 15th) we got the final numbers in,” started Witt on the topic of the rodeo’s popularity. “We had 163 saddle bronc riders wanting to garner one of those 132 positions and we had 183 bull riders trying to get one of those 132 positions. What we’re seeing in those two riding events, we’re seeing a sizeable increase in interest in competition in those events in the NWSS rodeo.”

The best summary of what to expect for 2011’s version of the NWSS comes straight from the top, and it’s a reminder of how lucky this region is to have a chance to attend the historic event every single year.

“Nobody has the top quality combination stock show, rodeo and horse show in the world like we do,” declared Grant. “Nobody has the uniqueness of our National Western Stock Show and our stock yards.”