Life & Culture

Denver Gazette: Celebrate our culture at the National Western Stock Show | Opinion

Visitors, newcomers and seniors in Colorado have nine more days to visit the nation’s premier culture fair outlining the history and traditions of the Great American West. Not attending the National Western Stock Show is not knowing the real Colorado.

To better understand what this nationally prominent event has to offer attendees and participants, consider a state fair, art fairs, an outdoor entertainment fair, and a large-scale combined rodeo and livestock show. After the COVID-19 halted in 2021, the 113-year-old annual event started again on Saturday and runs through January 23.

Every year, apart from 2021, tens of thousands travel from all over the country to meet at this event to see more than 15,000 animals, daily rodeos, dog shows, auctions, stalls, bull riding competitions, dancing horse shows, barrel racing and fairs Western art and more. The event brings together people who form lifelong friendships.

Founded by people from all over the world, the American West has long been a showcase of diversity that includes Mexican rodeos, a rodeo of African American heritage, and an abundance of Native American art.

Far from a waning remnant of Colorado’s rural and agricultural past, the stock fair has plans for a major expansion soon.

The redevelopment of the National Western Center, a multi-phase project, will include revitalizing the South Platte River, reorganizing railroads and adding an academic center at Colorado State University.

As featured on the National Western Stock Show website, the legacy honor campaign will focus on four core National Western facilities: the Legacy Building, the Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Livestock Center, the Cille and Ron Williams Yards Center, and the Equestrian Center.

The website states: “The expansion and development of these new facilities will significantly enhance the visitor experience, provide the ability to host a wide variety of events throughout the year, and support increased attendance at other National Western Center facilities, current and future.”

The redevelopment and expansion of stock exchange venues has been a priority for Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and has the support of Governor Jared Polis and a wide range of politicians from both major parties. Local, state, and business leaders continue to build public-private partnerships to fund expansion and modernization. Advocates believe the new and expanded assets could revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods of Elyria-Swansea and Globeville while facilitating events that could attract up to one million additional visitors annually to the event.

Denver and the rest of Colorado are the country’s gateway to the American West, where ranching, agriculture, and rural culture have made significant and necessary contributions to the greater Western community. The Stock Show presents an annual celebration of all that makes this area special, in a fun, affordable, entertaining, family-friendly and welcoming environment for all.

Denver Gazette Editorial Board

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