Held each year in December, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo features the top athletes in the sport. Whether you watch rodeo every night on the Cowboy Channel or you simply love the Western way of life, the NFR is an event everyone can love. An action-packed 10 days of nightly rodeo, along with shopping at hundreds of vendors, autograph signings, live performances, watch parties, and contests make the event a getaway that thousands of fans look forward to attending each year. While the NFR is typically held in Las Vegas—and will be returning in 2021—the 2020 event held in Texas will be an experience you don't want to miss.
The "Super Bowl of Rodeo" as it's been nicknamed is held annually by the Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association. Dallas, Texas was home to the first NFR in 1959 and since the inaugural year it's been hosted in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, and Las Vegas. In 1985, the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas became the long-lasting home for the prestigious event, holding a contract to hold the event through 2024. Due to COVID, the event moved back to Texas for one year and is being hosted at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas to preserve the fan experience that surrounds the iconic rodeo.
The NFR showcases the top fifteen money-winners in each event as they compete for the world title. Events included are calf roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, team roping, and barrel racing. New in 2020, the Wrangler National Finals Breakaway Roping is being held in conjunction with the NFR—December 8th — 12th at Globe Life Field. The top 15 breakaway ropers will compete for the 2020 world championship and a $200,000 purse during the three-day event.
The rodeo isn't the only reason fans travel across the country to attend the event each year—some fans only come for the shopping! There are countless shops to visit and activities to do that often take more than a single day to complete.
After the rodeo moved to Las Vegas in 1985, Cowboy Christmas began being held concurrently with the rodeo in 1986. Cowboy Christmas is the source for official Wrangler NFR merchandise, along with hosting vendors that offer unique products, including custom-made jewelry, Western wear, boots and spurs, furniture, original art, handmade crafts, and home goods. In addition to the shopping, attendees will find a variety of entertainment and offerings.
The Rodeo Live Stage presented by RMEF hosts two live daily shows, including Outside the Barrel with Flint Rasmussen and Cowboy Revival with host Shane Minor. In addition to the Rodeo Live Stage, NFR Central features interactive displays, live acoustic sets, radio remotes, and autograph sessions all at the heart of Cowboy Christmas. For fans who can't wait to return to Las Vegas, All Roads Lead to Vegas is an interactive area with giveaways, video content, and information on the NFR and Cowboy Christmas in 2021.
For fans who can't get enough of the rodeo action, the Junior World Finals presented by Yeti will showcase the up-and-coming youth who will compete for a championship buckle over the course of 10 days at Cowtown Coliseum.
Happening nightly from 5:00 p.m. — 12 a.m. at Cowtown Coliseum in the Fort Worth Stockyards, Hooey Fest is the world's largest NFR Watch party. Following the rodeo, is live music and more fun activities.
Stay tuned as the event returns to Las Vegas, where nightlife never stops.