Held for decades in the National Western Stock Show’s Events Center, the Wild West Show at the historic venue brings that Buffalo Bill Cody vibe into the 21st century.
While remaining true to acts in the original show from over a century ago, including Native American dancers, cowboys herding longhorn cattle, Cossack riders, and even Mexican riders, the show also tries to incorporate new acts on a regular basis for its target audience of families.
“Every year we try and make it something a little different, so it is not the same show every year,” said Dr. Lynn Phillips, who is a long-time announcer but whose real job is as an anesthesiologist. “Our number one objective is entertainment. We want to teach a little history as well as entertain that whole time.”
Although many of the events portrayed in the Wild West Show are spun from history and even lifestyles and cultures of the past, there is an authentic thread that sews it all together for today’s NWSS visitors.
“The people in our show, this is their life,” said NWSS Horse Show Manager Kendra McConnell. “(From the Indian dancers to the cowboys to the Escaramuza riders) it is true tradition and history and heritage for those families. Those acts are real, which is really neat.” ❖
Native American Fancy Dancers are always a whirl of action and color as they perform their traditional dancing for appreciative crowds at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The Fancy Dancers in the 2020 Wild West Shows were professionals of their craft and have won multiple championships in high profile competitions.
Just like Buffalo Bill Cody had Mexicans in his show, the Torres’ gave the NWSS Wild West Show crowd a taste of Mexican Charros, along with their traditional garb and excellent equestrian skills. Charros were different in culture, etiquette, mannerism, clothing, tradition and social status to the well-known vaquero, or Mexican version of the cowboy.
Twelve-year-old Cash Yule, left, of the Yule family from Canada, guides his team of miniature horses pulling a mini chiuck wagon in an entertaining chuck wagon race for the crowd at the 2020 NWSS Wild West Show on Saturday Jan. 18.
Ten-year-old Piper Yule, of the Canadian Yule family, added an instant cute factor to 2020’s NWSS Wild West Show by Roman Riding a pair of ponies around the arena and over a sem-circle of flames.
Some fancy trick roping was on display during the Mexican Charro riding and skill display.
In Saturday’s (Jan. 18) Wild West Show at the 2020 NWSS, Austin Anderson shows off his whip cracking skills by using his whip to snap the trigger and fire a shotgun held by his fiance’ Miss Chelsea.
In a traditional opening of the NWSS’ Wild West Show, members of the Westernaires riding group gallop through the arena while carrying extremely long American flags. The long flags create a dramatic effect as they trail behind the speeding horses, while never touching the ground.
“Miss Chelsea,” as she was called in the 2020 NWSS Wild West Show, showed off marksmanship by shooting weighted balloon targets tossed in the air by her fiance’ Austin Anderson, who was also a trick marksman and whip expert in the show.
Buffalo Bill Cody’s “Russian Cossacks” were portrayed in the 2020 NWSS Wild West Show by the Westernaires Riders of the Steppes, who performed Cossack style trick riding for the entertainmnet of the stock show crowd.
The Escaramuza Charra performed for the 2020 NWSS Wild West Show. It is a Mexican sport composed of a group of women mounted on horseback, riding side saddle, and performing equestrian choreographies to the rhythm of Mexican music. Dressing up as an Escaramuza is an art and also a serious responsibility, as there are regulations that state the quality of the dress depending on the type of presentation, which can be for competitions, social or cultural events as well as official charras competitions.