It’s the most wonderful time of year for rodeo athletes and kicking off the summer rodeo season is the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) in Casper, Wyoming. The biggest event of the year for college rodeo athletes, 400+ cowboys and cowgirls from 100 universities and colleges in the United States and Canada will descend on the city of Casper as they try their hand at becoming rodeo champions in their respective events from June 9 – 15, 2019.
And while there are plenty of things to do in and around Casper, here are five ways to have the best CNFR experience ever.
1. Watch CNFR + Peruse the Tradeshow
Chances are, attending a performance of CNFR is already on your radar. But there’s more to it than just watching the rodeo athletes in action. One of the best ways to enjoy the festivities at the Casper Events Center is to arrive early (doors open at 5:30 p.m.) and check out the tradeshow throughout the concourse, which is open during all CNFR performances and slack rounds. Vendors will have a variety of merchandise, including clothing, saddles, tack, jewelry and more. Admission to CNFR starts at $10 and the tradeshow is included in your rodeo entry. Tickets for CNFR are available at SinclairTix.com.
2. Attend Nic Fest
While CNFR officially starts Sunday, June 9, one of Casper’s coolest events – Nic Fest – kicks the week off in style. From Friday, June 7 through Sunday, June 9, Nic Fest transforms downtown Casper into a festival that includes art, food, drinks and music, including a CNFR presentation Saturday evening, followed by a performance from Corb Lund. Plus, it’s free and open to the public.
3. Gear up at Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters
Named as one of the best western stores in the country, Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters is a must-see destination in Casper, Wyoming and the West. Anchoring downtown, the store’s 55,000 square feet of space houses 10,000 pairs of cowboy boots, hats, apparel and more, making it easy to pick up an outfit that’s perfect for attending CNFR or dancing the night away at one of the concerts taking place throughout the week. An added bonus: Lou Taubert’s has an on-staff hat shaper who will make sure your new hat fits your face and head shape perfectly.
4. Attend the Ian Munsick Meet and Greet June 12 at CNFR (and catch him in concert after)
If you haven’t heard of country singer Ian Munsick yet, rest assured you will soon. A native of Wyoming, Ian will be at this year’s CNFR on Wednesday, June 12. Starting at 6 p.m., he’ll be at the Visit Casper booth at the Casper Events Center for a meet and greet where he’ll be taking photos with fans. After CNFR, Ian will be playing an acoustic show at Gruner Brothers Brewing.
5. Plan to Get Down at the Hoedown
Just in case the Ian Munsick meet and greet and concert isn’t enough musical fun for you, David Street Station is hosting an event called the Downtown Hoedown on Saturday, June 14, prior to the CNFR Championship Round. Slated for 2 – 6 p.m., festivities include live country music from Lucy Nelson and the Jake Mauer Band, mechanical bull riding, food trucks and beer.