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Photo: Lucy Beaugard

A Family Guide to the National Western Stock Show

With 16 days of rodeos, horse and livestock shows, and western entertainment galore, the National Western Stock Show may seem a bit overwhelming. But fear not, we’ve compiled a list of must-see events and insider secrets to help families navigate this year’s event.

Editor’s note, 1/6/20: This story has been updated with 2020 dates and information.

In 1906, Colorado’s first National Western Stock Show opened on January 29 and welcomed around 15,000 visitors over six days. National Western’s president and CEO, Paul Andrews, thinks the show’s founders would be proud of what their event has become: “A nationally recognized Super Bowl of livestock shows,” as he puts it. Today, the event draws around 700,000 attendees with 12 horse shows, Colorado’s largest western trade show, and nearly 30 rodeos.

So, with all of that going on, where does one even begin? To help your family navigate this year’s Stock Show, we’ve compiled a list of popular events and tips for families.

» Insider Tip: You don’t have to shell out a ton of cash to enjoy a little Western fun. “There are about 40 things every day that are free with grounds admission,” says Andrews.

On a typical day, head to the stockyard to watch a livestock show before meeting National Western’s newest baby animals at the nursery in the Events Center Paddock. Next, head to the third floor of the Expo Hall to feed more than 60 barnyard animals at the petting farm or saddle up on a pony—kiddos love this real-life carousel ($6 per ride). The third floor is also where you’ll find the annual Youth Art Show and all the food.

» Insider Tip: Look for the John Deere display, where curious kiddos can hop inside big rigs, combines, and farm loaders.

Must-See Events for Families

» Insider Tip: Family 4-packs can be purchased for most events, which include tickets, hot dogs, chips, and drinks for four. Prices vary.

Check it Out:
Located at the National Western Complex (4655 Humboldt St., Denver), accessible from I-70 and Brighton Boulevard.
Need to Know:
The 16-day show runs January 11 through 26, and is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Grounds admission is date specific and ranges from $3-$4 for ages three to 11 and $12-$24 for age 12 and up. Tickets can be purchased at King Soopers locations or at the National Western Box Office. Grounds admission is free on January 14. On Guest Appreciation Day—the last day of the Stock Show, January 26 —grounds admission tickets are discounted to $12 for adults and $4 for kids ages three to 11.

Family Food

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