Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
What: Wrangler National Finals Rodeo
When: December 5–14, 2019
The Must-Attend Rodeo
Much of the talk about the National Finals Rodeo focuses on the shopping, concerts, Vegas entertainment, and…more shopping. But the fact is this 10-day run in Las Vegas centers around the oldest cowboy sport known to the West: rodeo. From top-notch riders to enviable horses to the fast pace of every event during each performance, you’ll be kept on the edge of your seat in the Thomas and Mack Arena. Just leave your cell phone in your pocket—you won’t want to miss a tenth of a second.
The Facts: $10 Million | Size of the total purse for the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
The 10 nightly performances of the NFR focus squarely on what matters: the top 15 competitors in each of seven different events vying for paychecks and gold buckles.
Be in your seat at 6:45 p.m., sharp, so you don’t miss the exciting (and sometimes a little wild) grand entry, National Anthem, and devotion. The action won’t stop once the first bucking horse bursts from a chute until the last cowboy is launched from the final bull of the night.
Each performance has a theme (check nfrexperience.com for the list), and many have special acts to highlight rodeo’s support performers—trick riders, trick-trained horses, and trick ropers. After the rodeo lets out at 9 p.m. pack your patience for a trip back to the Vegas Strip to experience NFR nightlife. Many of the star-studded attractions are listed within our NFR Guide.
Don’t Miss This
You say you want to shop? Vegas during NFR has you covered with multiple trade shows. Pack your walking shoes and your wallet when you visit 1. Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center, 2. Roper Cowboy Marketplace at Mandalay Bay, and 3. Stetson Country Christmas at the Sands, among others.
If you don’t get enough high-stakes competition at one of the 10 rodeo performances, head south to South Point Casino and Hotel to catch the 4. World Series of Team Roping Finale. You’ll also find more shopping to fill your tack room and your closet at the Western Gift Show on site.
Itching to get in the saddle? Visit 5. Cowboy Trail Rides, just 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. You can read reviews about each of their mounts and learn about the rides at cowboytrailrides.com.
Grab Your Memorabilia
If philography—that is, collecting autographs—is your game, NFR is a perfect place to find champion riders and get their signatures. Follow your favorite rodeo athletes on social media to learn where they’ll be meeting fans each day.
[READ: THE TOTAL NFR GUIDE]