National Finals Rodeo: Not just for cowboys anymore

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Whether you are a real cowpoke or just a wannabe, you can throw on your boots and Stetson and head to Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo on Dec. 4-13. Have a great time going country all over town. The marquees at the casino hotels will be lit up with country stars’ names appearing there; Fremont is having their annual Downtown Hoedown with tons of free country and western entertainment as well as the amazing ambiance of Downtown. There will be great offers on entertainment, country duds and eats.

The NFR has been dazzling rodeo lovers since its inception in 1959, to the point where the tickets have been sold out every year for the past 20 years. So if you want to come you don’t want to wait too long to purchase them. There is something about the words Pro Bull Rider that brings out the country in everyone.

Held at the Thomas and Mack Center, you’ll get to see the top contestants in the country in steer wrestling, bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding and tie-down roping. This is the Super Bowl of rodeos, and at the end the World Champion will be named, a high honor in a country where bull riding and steer wrestling is almost a national pastime in many areas.

The Mirage is home to the official NFR after party with free live entertainment by country’s biggest stars, Team Mirage contestants and World Champs. The buffet at Cravings will be serving barbeque daily and all-you-can drink draft. The Mirage also offers complementary shuttle service to and from the event. Many of the hotel casinos have special deals for people coming to Vegas for the fun. Just check with your favorite hotel.

Even if you aren’t a cowpoke, you might want to check out the Cowboy Christmas Gift Show being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the rodeo. Everything from saddles for your favorite horse to clothing and accessories will be there as well as surprise visits from some of your favorite cowboy stars to sign autographs.

Golden Nugget and the Fremont St. Experience (YouTube)
Golden Nugget and the Fremont St. Experience

Mandalay Bay is also holding a cowboy marketplace gift show with great cowboy boots, clothing and anything you could need to ride the range or go line dancing. Fan Fest is an interactive area and it is located next door to the Cowboy Christmas Gift Show, so you can’t miss it. It will feature street performances, fantasy rodeo and cowboy poetry. They will also be holding autograph sessions with some of the rodeo contestants.

If country & western themed bars and restaurants are on your list for fun, you are in real luck. Las Vegas offers Gilley’s Saloon, Dance Hall and Bar-B-Que, located at Treasure Island (TI) on the Strip, Stoney’s Rockin’ Country at Town Square, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, located at Harrah’s, which is loaded with Toby Keith memorabilia, Revolver Saloon and Dance Hall at Santa Fe Station and plenty of others.

Continue to get your country on at the Golden Nugget with Hank Williams, Jr. on Dec. 4-6 and legend Merle Haggard on Dec. 7-8, or Shania Twain at Caesar’s Palace. You always knew it was cool to be country. Welcome and have a blast. Ticket prices for the National Finals Rodeo begin at $125