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Steers Parade Through Downtown Denver to Kick Off Mile High City’s Oldest Western Tradition

Steers Parade Through Downtown Denver to Kick Off Mile High City’s Oldest Western Tradition

The National Western Stock Show & Rodeo officially kicked-off yesterday with a parade through Denver’s downtown streets featuring 30 longhorn cattle, horses, cowboys, cowgirls, tractors, marching bands and floats. This year’s events will be Jan. 6 – 21, 2024 at the National Western Complex.

Held every January since 1906, The National Western Stock Show & Rodeo is a beloved Denver tradition that honors Old West Heritage as the nation’s premier livestock, rodeo and horse show, serving agricultural producers and consumers throughout the world. Attracting over 660,000 guests each year, the 16-day event welcomes attendees from 45 states and 30 countries to experience a variety of Western traditions in The Mile High City.

Denver and the state of Colorado are the gateway to the American West, making it the perfect city to welcome the annual celebration and to honor the region’s diverse history with events such as the Mexican rodeo, an African American Heritage rodeo and an abundance of Indigenous art.

Below are some event highlights. Many Denver hotels are offering deals, making it a great time to experience the city.

20+ Pro Rodeos - Bulls and broncos, cowboys and cowgirls – rodeo’s top athletes from around the country roll into Denver for the first major pro rodeo of the season.

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Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza, Jan. 7, 2024 - Filled with cultural pageantry, the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza features Mexican-style bull riding, bareback riding, trick roping and Mariachis.

Xtreme Dog Shows, Jan. 15 & 16, 2024 - Dog lovers unite for a show full of amazing tricks, aerial stunts and comedy antics, all performed by man’s best friend.

Olympics-style Horse Jumping Events, Jan 12, 2024 - The National Western Stock Show hosts two prestigious horse jumping competitions: the Grand Prix and Gambler’s Choice. These events combine show jumping technique and precision that require absolute cooperation and teamwork between horse and rider.

Grounds Admission – The Stock Show includes acres of shopping and over 300 free events and activities. Check out the petting farms and pony rides, the Coors Western Art gallery, stock dog competitions and more. 

78th Annual Steer at The Brown Palace - Perhaps the city’s most unique and time-honored Denver tradition will be celebrated this year on January 19th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This event will take place in the Brown Palace Atrium Lobby where the guest of honor, the National Western Stock Show’s Grand Champion Steer, joins for Afternoon tea.

More Ways to Experience Western History in Denver

In addition to the Shock Show and Rodeo events, Denver is home to local museums, restaurants and retail stores that will immerse visitors in the city’s western roots.

History Colorado Center is a large, centrally located museum in Denver designed for multi-generational audiences with interactive elements in the majority of the more than fifteen exhibits that span four floors and capture the spirit of the Centennial State. Colorado’s story is constantly evolving, and new exhibitions and displays like “The Sand Creek Massacre: The Betrayal that Changed Cheyenne and Arapaho People Forever,” “Rainbows & Revolutions,” and “Virgil Ortiz’s Revolt 1680/2180: Runners + Gliders,” bridge the gap between the history of this great state and the here and now.

The Denver Art Museum’s Western American Art Collection encompasses two centuries of paintings, sculptures and works on paper related to the West, while the current exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art,  “Cowboy,” explores the origins of the American cowboy and how the figure and its mythology persists today. The exhibit feaures loans and new commissions from 27 artists representing a wide range of perspectives including Asian American artists, Hispanic/Latino artists and Native artists.

Rockmount Ranch Wear, located in the LoDo neighborhood, was the first designer to introduce Western shirts with snaps. They have boots, hats and everything else you will need to dress the part.

Those looking to enjoy authentic western cuisine should check out Denver’s oldest restaurant, The Buckhorn Exchange. This longtime favorite has served almost every Wild West historic figure you can think of since 1893. These famous menu items will get your mouth watering: buffalo prime rib, Colorado lamb, elk and Gramma Fanny’s pot roast with Colorado beef brisket.