National Western Stock Show. Thousands of cowpokes retrieve their string ties and worn boots and indulge in two weeks of hootin', hollerin', and celebratin' the beef industry during the National Western Stock Show each January.
Whether you're a professional rancher or bull rider, or just plan to show up for the people-watching, the Stock Show is a rich, colorful glimpse of Western culture. The pros arrive to make industry connections, show off their livestock, and perhaps land a few sales. The entertainment involves nightly rodeo events, presentations of prized cattle (some going for thousands of dollars), and "Mutton Bustin'." The latter is one of those rowdy rodeo concepts that usually has no place in a genteel metropolis like Denver: kids, ages 5–7, don huge hockey-goalie helmets and hold for dear life onto the backs of bucking baby sheep. At the trade show you can buy hats and boots as well as yards of beef jerky and quirky gift items.
The yearly event is held at the Denver Coliseum. Just be sure to call first and ask for directions; although parking is plentiful it can move around based on volume and livestock needs, and the Coliseum, usually home of straightforward sporting and entertainment events, becomes a labyrinth of lots and shuttles during the Stock Show. Daily admission prices depend on the day's events. Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St., Elyria, Denver, Colorado, 80216. 303/295--6124; 866/464--2626; www.nationalwestern.com. $10--$19.