The National Finals Rodeo has taken place every December since 1984. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association organizes the NFR event in a way that clearly confirms champions by means of cumulative yearly earnings. Awards are presented to top earners in each rodeo event category. The World All-Around Rodeo Champion Cowboy title goes to the top overall money earner during the entire contest. Being crowned the overall winner usually requires participating in more than one rodeo event, which can dramatically increase the physical toll, so the world champions are definitely some tough competitors.
Rodeo event categories include Bareback Bronc Riding, Steer Wrestling, Team Roping Headers & Heelers, Saddle Bronc Riding, Calf Roping, Barrel Racing and Bull Riding. Barrel Racing historically is a cowgirl sport and all of the other events are traditionally cowboy territory, although this is not written in stone. Some cowboys specialize in one or two category events at every rodeo they compete in, while a few attempt to perform in every category. Performing in multiple rodeo event categories is extremely difficult to do for two reasons. Firstly, a multi event cowboy must outperform all of those who specialize in one skill. Secondly, it is difficult to remain injury free. This is why a World All-Around Rodeo Champion Cowboy is so highly respected. It literally takes years of practice, a lot of guts and tons of strength to pull this monumental feat off! Deservedly so, the names of the World All-Around Rodeo Champion Cowboys are immortalized and revered by all!
The National Finals Rodeo is a highly competitive 10 day event. When considering the talent level of the field, this rodeo can be a dream maker, a tie breaker or a real back breaker. Often after competing during an entire year of rodeos, only a few thousand dollars in earnings separates the top cowboys in each event category overall. With this said, the level of competition is kicked up a notch in Las Vegas, because the NFR is the last big money rodeo of the year.
I attended the 2015 National Finals Rodeo, which started on December 3rd and finished on Saturday night, December 12th. All of the tickets for the entire National Finals Rodeo are nearly always sold out each year, but for those who do not plan ahead, all is not lost. Tickets can be purchased via the officially sanctioned Prime Sport Ticket Exchange. The Prime Sport Ticket Exchange website can be found on the internet and the Prime Sport Ticket Exchange booth is located at the Las Vegas Convention Center Cowboy Christmas event. This is also where the advance tickets are picked up.
Each day of NFR competition has a different theme and I attended the rodeo on Pink Night! Nearly every cowboy and cowgirl wore a pink shirt to show support for the fight against breast cancer. The NFR Pink Night began at 6:45PM and the events ended at 9:00PM. A little more than 2 hours may not seem like much time, but the fast paced action was nonstop! There were no breaks and no interludes. It was one rodeo event after another, till every scheduled ride was completed.
The Las Vegas National Finals Rodeo is an event that simply must be marked on the calendar! Be sure to plan on reserving tickets well ahead of time, because this big event always sells out. The National Finals Rodeo definitely is the grandaddy of them all and this is reason enough to get up and go!
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