First published January 3, 2012
2012 National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado: January 7 – 22, 2012
What it is: PRO Rodeo, Mexican Rodeo, MLK Jr. African-American Heritage Rodeo, Trade Show, Livestock, Western Art, Horse Show, Food/Merchandise Vendors and much more.
Where it is: The National Western Complex is located just east of I-25 on I-70 and is easily accessible by taking the Brighton Blvd. or Coliseum exits.
National Western Complex
4655 Humboldt St.
Denver, CO 80216
From the NationalWestern.com website.
EDITORS NOTE: This is the first in a series of four articles recounting the colorful history of the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo and Horse Show, which celebrated its 100th birthday in 2006.
By Keith and Cheryl Chamberlain
The year was 1906. Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House, there were 45 states in the Union, Colorado was getting ready to celebrate its thirtieth birthday and sirloin was ten cents a pound. On the outskirts of Denver, a growing town with a population of 200,000, stockmen from around the West gathered to show their animals, buy and sell breeding stock and encourage a meatpacking center to rival those in Kansas City and Chicago. From this beginning, the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo and Horse Show was born. The grand champion steer that first year was a Shorthorn that tipped the scales at 1,150 pounds and befitting its status, fetched an eye-popping 33 cents a pound.
The West Needs A Stock Show
In the early years of the 20th century, western stock growers faced a problem. They lacked a large market center in the West to receive their animals and the cost of shipping to eastern markets cut into already lean profits. Though there was a small meat packing industry in Denver, it was a poor cousin to its larger rivals in Chicago and Kansas City. There was also the feeling among western stockmen that they weren’t getting fair prices for their cattle, sheep and hogs. Livestock raising in the West was a tougher proposition than in the more humid East where concentrated corn and grain feeds were used to fatten livestock. The solution would be improved breeds that could thrive in this more arid region and a meat packing center in the West to compete with the big eastern packers.
Beginning in the 1890s, there had been efforts to get a regular livestock convention established in Denver, but what was needed was an ongoing stock show that met every year. In July of 1905, Elias Ammons, Fred Johnson and G.W. Ballantine met to talk over ideas for an annual stock show. Ammons was a Douglas County rancher, Colorado State Senator, and newly elected president of the Colorado Cattle and Horse Growers Association. Johnson was the president of the Daily Record Stockman, a livestock industry newspaper, and G. W. Ballantine was associated with the Denver Union Stockyards. Ammons proposed that they organize a show to be held in conjunction with his association’s convention in Denver coming up in January, 1906. January was a practical choice because, coming after the fall harvest and before spring calving, it was a convenient time for stock growers. Denver businessmen liked the idea of a January show because the post-Christmas period was the slowest time of the year for sales. What better fix for the mid-winter doldrums than a convention that would draw large numbers of visitors and get Denverites out of their homes to see the stock show read more…
Ticket Info: Ticket prices for reserved‐seat events range from $8 to $100. Grounds admission per person 12 years old and older is: $7 Jan. 11‐15 and Jan. 19‐22; $12 Jan. 16‐18 and Jan. 23; $10 Jan. 9‐10 and Jan. 24. Children’s admissions (ages 3‐11) are $2 on weekdays and $3 Saturday and Sunday and Martin Luther King Day. Children 2 and under are free. Tickets are available at King Soopers stores from Cheyenne to Pueblo, at Coors Field and Rockies Dugout Stores or at the National Western Ticket Office, 4655 Humboldt Street, Denver. Tickets also can be obtained by calling 1‐ 888‐551‐5004 or at NationalWestern.com.