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Longing for a touch of the "True West?" Always wanted to "cowboy/cowgirl up," even vicariously? Ever wonder what makes one cow, horse or sheep a champion, and another an "also-ran"? Then come to Denver January 10-25, 2009 for the 103rd year of the world's largest stock show, the National Western Stock Show, an ‘only in Denver" extravaganza.

Called the "Super Bowl of Cattle Shows," The National Western Stock Show is a Denver tradition, honoring the U.S.'s Old West heritage that lives on today. Held every January at the National Western Complex, it is the world's premier stock, show, horse show and rodeo. Each year is bigger and better than the last, with more than 15,000 animals, rodeo performances, bull riders, horse shows, livestock competitions, auctions and booths selling everything from cowboy boots to Native American jewelry..

And the livestock and horse shows are just the beginning of the fun: the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza featuring bull riders and bareback riders, trick roping, mariachi and the daring Paso de la Muerte or "Death Jump" is always a popular event. The Denver Professional Bull Riders Chute-Out, stars the world's best bull riders clinging to the top of an 1,800-pound mountain of muscle for eight seconds of glory. Kids will love the free petting farm, offering the opportunity to get up close and personal with 60 animals.

Kicking off the celebrations right in downtown Denver is the NWSS Parade, an annual Stock Show tradition, scheduled for January 13 at 12 noon.

Beginning at Union Station and meandering down 17th Street, the parade features marching bands, floats, horseback riders and performing cowgirls and cowboys, in addition to the incredible - and camera-worthy - sight of Texas Longhorn cattle being driven through downtown Denver.

Century-old Tradition Thrives Today

The Stock Show's history stretches back to the early days of the 20th century, with the inaugural event taking place in 1906. It was a big hit from the very beginning -- attendance was estimated at 15,000 with stockmen visiting from Omaha, Kansas City, Chicago and some eastern cities. By 1909, the Stock Show was attracting in excess of 100,000 spectators.

In 2008, the National Western Stock Show recorded the event's biggest opening-day in history with an attendance of 44,616 and the biggest single-day attendance on Jan. 19 with 68,610. Previous records for opening-day and single day attendance were 41,637 set in 2006 and 68,357 set in 1999, respectively.

What goes on at the Stock Show? The National Western hosts nearly 20 breeds of cattle during its 16-day run. In addition to the original four breeds of cattle -- Angus, Galloway, Hereford, and Shorthorn -- National Western now hosts a variety of breeds from around the globe. Visitors are able to view traditional competition among exhibitors of breeding animals ultimately used for seedstock in agriculture, such as beef cattle, sheep and goats), learning he fine points of distinction that separate a champion from the also-rans.

National Western also offers competition among exhibitors of recreational and companion animals, including llamas, poultry, rabbits and dogs. Viewing these events is all part of the Stock Show experience and is included with a grounds admission ticket.

In addition to livestock, horse exhibitors from across the nation look to the National Western as a premier place to start their exhibition year. The high level of competition and world-class brought about by the state-of-the-art equine venue has resulted in more than 16,000 entries shown during the 2008 National Western Horse Show. The horse show includes one of the top-five American Quarter Horse shows, a six-judge American Paint Horse show and the famous Draft Horse and Mule show. In addition, there are US Equestrian Federation -approved shows for hunters and jumpers, and an open division, which includes Arabians, American Saddlebreds, Appaloosas, Morgans and equitation classes.

While most horse judging and other activities in the 5,000-seat Events Center may be attended with the price of general admission, there are 14 ticketed shows, including two Super Dogs events, two Wild West Shows and two An Evening of Dancing Horses® scheduled in the arena.

Get more information on event schedules and tickets at

Great hotel rates are available at the fifteen Denver properties of the Show's official partner, Marriott Hotels of Denver, with special airfares on Frontier Airlines,
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