Despite living within a few hours of Las Vegas for much of my life, I never went to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Shameful, I know. I was finally able to make the pilgrimage for “work” (it’s not work if it’s fun, right?) and “cowboy town” far exceeded all my expectation.
Reading and hearing about the NFR and its surrounding events is one thing. It’s another thing entirely to actually be immersed in the World of Cowboy at the Super Bowl of Rodeo. Nothing could prepare me for the activity, passion, and energy coursing through Las Vegas.
The rodeo is amazing, the shopping is fantastic, and all the other events are the icing on the cake; however, the NFR experience is a sum that’s more than its parts. It’s more than just a specific event that makes being at the NFR so special; it’s an accumulation of things that culminates in a massive celebration of a lifestyle. It really does feel like a giant family reunion.
The best analogy I can think of is explaining NFR as a cowboy Woodstock. Everyone comes together to unite as one nation under Cowboy. And everyone—from the old Texas rancher to the young and star-struck rodeo fan—is represented and having a blast.
To anyone thinking that the interest in cowboys and the Western way of life is fading, head to Vegas in December. The cowboy crowd is alive and well.