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Yes, it’s that time again!  All SUVs, cars, stock trailers, and more are heading to Las Vegas.  All the Country Western singers and stars clamor for a ‘gig’ in Vegas at one of the hotels while the cowboys and cowgirls are in town.  Las Vegas made a profitable decision when they chose to invite the PRCA National Finals to the ‘city that never sleeps’.

Competitors, cowboys, cowgirls, fans, and more, are thrilled with the location as well.  Las Vegas is ready and willing to do what it takes to keep everyone happy.  You don’t have to gamble, or drink, or go to shows, but they are there if you have the desire.  Many are just so caught up in the throes of rodeo, by the time the last bull is ridden, they toddle off to have a bite to eat and crawl in bed.  Meanwhile on the other side of the wall there are parties galore for everyone.

Vendors are also happy to be part of the mecca in the desert.  Three major trade shows – Cowboy Christmas, The Sands, and Mandalay Bay – plus additional venues, are available for NFR goers to buy, buy, buy.  These spots are also great ‘people-watching’ areas.  You can buy a costly trailer, or  a tiny western trinket, but believe me it is all there for the taking.  I have been attending these trade shows for 25 years and have never found there was nothing new to purchase.  Some of my favorite items have come from here.

I have a couple of volunteered jobs going while there that I love.  I am the greeter at the Gold Card Room, which is for Gold Card holders only and their spouses.  In case you are an “NFR beginner”, a Gold Card Member is someone in the older years, who rodeo’d for a long time and paid their dues.  It is on the street level of Thomas and Mack Stadium and a great place for the competitors of yesteryear to come and see their old friends and make new friends, before the nightly performances begin.  I have interviewed many rodeo cowboys, cowgirls, rodeo clowns, performers, stock contractors, and world champions in this room for the last 25 years.  By being the ‘greeter’ these days it is my way of giving back to the sport for all the wonderful stories I was blessed to be told and have included in my books on rodeo history.

I also help and support the Cowboy Reunion which is held at The Orleans Hotel & Casino the 13th, 14th and 15th of December.  This gathering is primarily for yesterday’s heroes and heroines, and anyone who knows they have so much to tell and share.  The Cowboy Reunion also holds silent and live auctions, drawings, raffle for boots, and so much more.  Many of the items may be donated memorabilia from these old cowboys and cowgirls.  The cost is $85 for all three events.  Thursday Dec. 13th, 1PM to 3PM is a Welcome Cocktail Party; Friday, Dec. 14th, a Light Breakfast, 9AM to 11AM; Saturday, Dec. 15th, Brunch 10AM to 1PM.

Most of the Casinos and Hotels have shuttle buses that go to and from the rodeo, so traveling there is easy if you have tickets to the performances.  If not, most of the hotels have large closed circuit television coverage of each performance.  There is no way for a person to complain and say they didn’t get to see the National Finals of Rodeo.  Watch the new World Champions in each event be announced. These competitors have worked so hard all year to get here.   It is always exciting, and often many competitions are not decided until the 10th round is over.

I hope to see you all there.  Have a safe trip and Happy Holidays.

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