National Western Stock Show back in saddle after pandemic’s rough ride

Stock show, rodeo attendance on pace to break records; redevelopment of National Western site continues

Judith Kohler
The Denver Post
Professional sheep shearer Evan Hasenbalg shears a sheep in front of a packed crowd in the Ames Activity Pavilion at the National Western Stock Show on Jan. 13 2023.
Andy Cross/The Denver Post

Rising cases of the COVID-19 omicron variant made for a bumpy ride at the 2022 National Western Stock Show, but this year the 117th edition of the annual event is square in the saddle and on pace to score record attendance numbers.

And a multiyear makeover for the home of the show and rodeo that first kicked off in 1906 is moving ahead, with the historic wood pens of the livestock yards modernized and construction soon to start on a livestock events center and stock show headquarters.

“We had the highest opening day of all time, almost 60,000 people,”  said Paul Andrews, stock show CEO and president.

The previous opening-day record was about 57,000 people. The highest overall attendance for the show was nearly 727,000 in 2006, the event’s 100th anniversary.

Andrews isn’t predicting that the 2023 stock show will set a new attendance record, but he said, “We are on pace for that, which is tremendous.”


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