National Finals Rodeo and Cowboy Christmas Arrive in Las Vegas

Experience the National Finals Rodeo, Cowboy Christmas, concerts and more

Off The Strip is celebrating the holiday season with a 30-days of stories counting down to the big day Dec. 25! Our #WYD Holiday Guide features all the best places to go, experiences to have, festive displays, party destinations, holiday cocktails and dinners—plus where to shop local and cool ways to give back! Check out the features »

The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) is in Las Vegas, which may explain why there’s a wave of cowboy hats up and down the Strip. The rodeo itself is 10 straight days of competition at the Thomas & Mack, but that’s only just the beginning. Here’s how to enjoy NFR to the fullest in Las Vegas. 

The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo

The NFR gets underway inside the Thomas & Mack at 5:45 p.m. each night with events running between Dec. 2 and Dec. 11. In a tradition that dates back to 1958, the sport’s best from the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) compete in seven main events: tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, barrel racing and team roping with more than $13 million in prize money at stake. If you can’t be there in person, catch the action live on the Cowboy Channel. 

Rodeo photo/ Photo Credit Sam Morris from Las Vegas News Bureau

Cowboy Christmas

Cowboys Christmas is an annual highlight of the holiday shopping season in Las Vegas, not just for rodeo fans, but anyone looking for a fun gift or souvenir. The pop-up retail extravaganza covers 500,000 square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center with more than 350 vendors and exhibitors selling clothes, boots, jewelry, art, home goods and other items any cowboy or cowgirl would love. Cowboy Christmas is a prime location for NFR autograph sessions, so line up to meet your favorite rodeo star in between all that shopping. Check out the NFR Junior World Finals, which also take place inside the Convention Center with more than 800 up-and-coming competitors.

Parties and Nightlife

The Veil Pavilion at the Silverton is teaming up with 95.9 The Ranch for nightly viewing parties and after-parties featuring live country music, prizes, giveaways, food and drink specials. Have dinner at the recently reopened Twin Creeks Steakhouse, where the Cowboy Meal Deal offers six courses for $60. Similar viewing parties are also taking place at Money, Baby! inside Virgin Hotels, Gilley’s Saloon at Treasure Island, The Mirage Race & Sports Book and designated party zones at the MGM Grand, Orleans and South Point. You can also party outdoors at the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center with Gary Leffew’s Bucking Ball (Dec. 2-4, 9-11).  

Country Concerts

In an annual tradition, Las Vegas loads up on country music concerts to coincide with NFR. Most notably, the arrival of Carrie Underwood (Dec. 3-11) at the new Resorts World Theatre, debuting her “Reflection” residency. In a bittersweet moment, Reba, Brooks & Dunn are wrapping up their “Together in Vegas” residency with a string of final dates (Dec 1-11) at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace. Other shows in town include Shania Twain at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood (Dec. 2-11), Little Big Town at The Theatre at Virgin Hotels (Dec. 3-4), George Strait at the T-Mobile Arena (Dec. 3-4), Jason Aldean at Dolby Live at the Park MGM (Dec. 9-11), and Cody Jinks (Dec. 2-5), Brantley Gilbert (Dec. 4), Cody Johnson (Dec. 8-9) and Dierks Bentley (Dec. 10-11) at The Chelsea inside the Cosmopolitan.   

 Staying in the Loop

Check in with the official National Finals Rodeo website for the latest events and activities. You can also download the official phone app for Apple and Android.

This post is part of Off The Strip’s 30 Days of Christmas series.

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