Sunday, January 10, 2010

National Western Stock Show 2010

Yesterday Zack and I took our yearly pilgrimage to the National Western Stock Show in Denver. The National Western Stock show has been around for over 100 years and is one of the largest stock shows in the entire country (it might be the largest - I just don't know). For those of you who don't know what a stock show is, it is an exhibition of ranch animals - from cows and horses to llamas, yak and elk. On top of the exhibit of the animals there are rodeos, exhibition of farm equipment, kids exhibits, countless vendors selling farm/ranch related material, contests (fiddling, blacksmithing, etc.) and many other things. In general it is like a severely overgrown state or county fair. Saturday was the opening day for this year's stock show and I wanted to attend on this particular day because of two key events - the llama show and judging and the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza.
My desire to see the llama show is obvious due to my plan to buy a llama. I didn't go to the show with the intent of buying a llama - but I wanted to spend a bunch of time talking to people who raise and care for llamas. Seeing the Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza is a yearly tradition for Zack and me. A Mexican rodeo is a lot different than your typical rodeo as there are a lot of entertainment activities involved as opposed to an "American Style" rodeo. There are feats of extreme horsemanship, comedy routines, dancing and singing (all in Spanish of course!).
We were quite rushed to make the llama show as it started at 4:00PM and Zack had a cub scout activity - earning his Aquanaut Activity Badge to do earlier in afternoon. We didn't finish at the Highlands Ranch Eastridge Rec Center until almost 10 minutes after 3. So we had to head home and change quickly before heading towards downtown Denver and the National Western Complex where the show is held.
(Zack saying hello to one of the llama in the competition for best of show.)
Arriving around 4:15PM we headed directly to the Event Center stadium in which the llama show was being held. There are 4 or 5 different stadiums within the National Western Complex. The largest of them - the Colisseum can seat almost 10,000 people. The others only seat between 1000 - 5000 people. This stadium can probably seat about 2000 people - thankfully there weren't many people there for the llama show and judging so Zack and I were able to get right down to the edge of the stadium floor and see the llamas very close up.
(Zack hamming it up with another llama.) After we were done looking at the llamas in the show we got some food to eat and then headed down to the paddock area where the livestock is kept when not in their shows. The llama section of the paddock was easy to find and spnt a good hour or so wandering through the hundreds of llamas that were there. I talked to quite a few owners and breeders and I was able to get the scoop on how easy llamas are to care for. In general, the conversations left me feeling that taking care of a llama won't be that particularly hard. It sounds like they are about as easy to take care of as cattle as opposed to horses - which seem a bit more needy. Next we moved on to the exhibit hall so Zack could spend some time hanging out in the "petting farm". Kids mobbed the entire "petting ranch" so I let Zack go in and I hung back drinking a beer. The National Western Complex allows you to carry open alcohol containers throughout the entire place so that makes the visit there that much more fun! Zack had a great time playing with all the animals. (Zack exploring some of the farm equipment on display.) We wandered through the exhibit hall for a good bit of time seeing all the exhibits and playing around on the farm machinery that was on exhibition. There was an ironsmithing competition going on in out of the open air tents so we stopped an investigated that. Though I don't think you can see the detail on the website, the photo I took of the ironsmiths in action I think is pretty cool! Look for the sparks flying through the air from the work the guy in the foreground is doing.

(Ironsmith competition in progress. Notice the sparks flying - thought that was really cool!)

The Mexican rodeo was our last event of the evening. As always it was really good and some of the acts of horsemanship were outstanding. At times it seems impossible what people can get these very well trained horses to do. If you ever have the opportunity to attend a Mexican Rodeo I do highly recommend it.

That wrapped up our visit to the 2010 National Western Stock Show. But if Zack has his way we will be going back at least one more time to see some more shows.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Thanks and peace to all! ~J.

1 comment:

DigPicPhoto said...

You can view additional photos of the 16th Annual Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza at: http://www.digpicphoto.com/Mexican_Rodeo_Extravaganza.htm