This is our third year in a row making the trek to the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo, the “World Series” of rodeo where the fifteen best (as in top money-winners) compete in seven rodeo events.
You might think, with fifteen-times-seven trips out onto the arena floor, the rodeo might last until midnight. However, each event is timed, and those times are mighty short. Some winners, as in the barrel-racing, steer wrestling, and roping competitions, are the cowboys and cowgirls with the shortest times, measured in seconds, not minutes. Even in the long-distance events like bronc and bull riding, the buzzer sounds at eight seconds.
Now, we are city people, it is true, but we love the rodeo. The mastery and strength of rodeo athletes and their equine partners is something beautiful to behold.
And we also like to shop. During the NFR, the Las Vegas Convention Center hosts the Cowboy Christmas Marketplace. Shoppers can buy everything from saddles to luxury horse trailers/motorhomes, from purses and jewelry to cowboy boots and clothing. A corner of the center is given over to displays of horsemanship. Here I am with one of the equine visitors:
Las Vegas has hosted the NFR since 1985, so in addition to the competition in the Thomas & Mack Center, and the shopping at the Convention Center, we had a great, free, country band at our hotel to listen to and lots of friendly cowboy-hat-wearing visitors to mingle with. And, oh yeah, a few lucky slot machines just begging to take our money.