Each year during the first full week in December, the eyes of the rodeo world focus on Las Vegas for the event billed as the Super Bowl of Rodeo, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. For ten days, the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association takes over the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas as contestants compete in seven events: bareback riding, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, tie-down roping and bull riding.
Rodeo action — Photo courtesy of NFR Experience
When you're not watching the wrangling action, get a jump start on holiday shopping at the annual Cowboy Christmas Gift Show. More than 400 vendors set up shop in the Las Vegas Convention Center, showcasing handcrafted Western ware, boots, art, crafts, jewelry and pottery. A free shuttle takes shoppers directly to the Thomas & Mack Center for each night's rodeo events.
For the first time in 2012, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo will make the rodeo experience more accessible to fans with the introduction of Cowboy Fanfest, 100,000 square feet of entertainment, rodeo-themed food and beverage, exhibitions, clinics, interactive booths and an Old West village. Cowboy Fanfest takes place in an exhibition hall adjacent to the Cowboy Christmas Gift Show, making it easy to catch all the highlights before heading to the rodeo for the night.