Las Vegas Rodeo

The city of Vegas has always had a kind of outlaw appeal, so it's no surprise that this is the place to see National Finals Rodeo. Thanksgiving is passed - put on your cowboy boots, grab a Toby Keith CD for the car ride and head down to the University of Nevada campus. At UNLV's Thomas and Mack Center you'll find the best the Las Vegas rodeo has to offer - a full week of the most exciting cowboy action anywhere in the nation. If you love a good wrangling, and want to make a little extra on sidebets, this is the best time to go to Vegas.

Held annually during the first full week of December, eight world champions are crowned by the end of the festivities - so get your NFR Rodeo tickets while you can. Also known as the Super Bowl of Rodeo, these competitions cover seven events: bareback riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and team roping (where teams of two get to take home the title of champion). The entire rodeo season hinges on what happens during this week - even though the champions are based on how much money the cowboys pull down during the entire year, the stakes are so high at this Las Vegas rodeo that the entire season can be won or lost here. This is make or break time - so naturally, it's held in Vegas, where fortunes are won and lost each day.

Held here since 1984 (it originated in Dallas), many casinos across the city run promotions and special parties for the week's festivities, since NFR Rodeo tickets sell out so quickly. Fremont Street is the epicenter for most of these parties - from the Four Queens to the Golden Nugget, you'll see a growing number of ten gallon hats and hear the recognizable thump-thump of cowboy boots all up and down the Fremont Street Experience. The Las Vegas Rodeo also brings to town a number of high profile country singers, who either plan their tours concurrent to the National Finals Rodeo, or who actually perform as part of the festivities. Even a handful show up just to enjoy the National Finals Rodeo, so don't be surprised if you see Tim McGraw or Kenny Chesney ambling down the street while the rodeo is in town.

Other aspects of the National Finals Rodeo are the Miss Rodeo America pageant and all sorts of live auctions to go along with the Vegas parties, as the city dutifully refocuses on its Old West history. So get your NFR rodeo tickets now, if you love to see old-fashioned cowboy action, you have to act swiftly - these tickets sell out every year without fail. Taking place just before the major Vegas holidays of Christmas and New Year's (not to mention Super Bowl Weekend), early December is one of Vegas' slowest times - so if you just want to take in the rowdy atmosphere and cowboy parties that mark this time of year in Sin City, you can stay for relatively cheap just about anywhere in town.

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