It’s a perfect complement to the NFR activities all week long! If you’re looking for the newest, greatest gifts in Cowboy Christmas, then this is the place. Hundreds of vendors with the latest unique gifts for family and friends are on display. And don’t miss out on your favorite cowboy stars as they make surprise appearances and sign autographs!
2018 Cowboy Christmas
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Saturday
Where: South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center
Recurrence: Recurring daily
Tickets: Free admission
Enjoy over four hours of daily coverage of the “Super Bowl of Rodeo.” Ten days of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, or Super Bowl of Rodeo, brings together the top 15 competitors in seven different rodeo events. Such daily features can be The Buckle Ceremony, Outside the Barrel, and Western Sports Round-Up. Outside the Barrel is hosted by Flint Rasmussen and the Western Sports Round-Up is an hour long talk show hosted by Steve Kenyon.
- Junior NFR: The Junior NFR presented by YETI will feature youth competitors nineteen and younger competing in rodeo events just like the pros at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
- Rodeo Live Stage: There’s live entertainment all day on the stage. Daily features include Flint Rasmussen with his popular show, “Outside the Barrel,” and RFD-TV’s Western Sports Roundup. More to come.
- Rodeo Arena: The Wrangler Rodeo Arena, will host a variety of events and competitions. The Junior NFR presented by YETI will be featured over the ten days of action. In addition, the Flag Girl Competition and Exceptional Rodeo presented by NV Energy will be held in arena.
- Rodeo Way: This “Old West” setting, located at the East end of Cowboy Christmas adjacent to the live stage, features interactive industry and rodeo exhibits.
- Rodeo Saloon: Every great party needs a saloon. Located near the East end of Cowboy Christmas adjacent to Rodeo Way, the Saloon features food vendors and video screens with a replay of the prior night’s Wrangler NFR performance.
- Social Lounge: Kick up your heels in the lounge. This area will feature contestant and musician autograph sessions, giveaways, contests and more.
- Great Wall of Rodeo: This fan favorite features a graphic of all Wrangler NFR contestants and other interactive elements.
Everything you need to know about Cowboy Christmas in Las Vegas
Todd and Sheila Thorp of Leawood, Kansas, were taking a break for an adult beverage and a chance to sit down at their first Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“It’s overwhelming,” Todd said, echoed by his wife: “You need to be here all 10 days.”
Indeed. The 32nd event involves nearly 350 vendors whose wares are spread over 444,000 square feet — about seven and a half football fields — in the LVCC’s South Halls. And surprise at the sheer scale was in the air on opening day Thursday, with overheard comments such as:
“This thing goes farther than I can see.”
“It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it?”
And the inevitable: “We haven’t gotten very far yet.”
Best of all, as the Thorps noted, it’s free — although you’ll have to pay $10 to park..
In fact, Cowboy Christmas, which runs through Saturday, may be the best entertainment value in town right now, a wild circus of colors and sparkle and sometimes-frenetic activity that draws about 230,000 people who range from babies in strollers to old-timers using canes.
There are plenty of city slickers but also a heck of a lot of cowboys and cowgirls, like the rodeo stars signing autographs, the guy carrying his son’s saddle over his shoulder on a strap, and the subject of the overheard, “Every time she barrel races …”
The holidays are very much in evidence in displays, decorations and country singers’ carols on the halls’ speakers, but this show is really more about cowboys than Christmas. There’s plenty to see even if you’re not shopping. But if you are, and the item you seek has anything to do with the cowboy lifestyle, it’s probably available here. Consider:
Anything conceivable to outfit a horse, including bridles, bits, tools, colorful tailored blankets with matching fly masks, waterers, slow feed hay nets, flexible rein keepers, saddles ranging from relatively plain to those with finely tooled leather or silver trim and crystals, Impact Gel saddle pads, leather straps with bronze bells attached in a wide range of sizes, ornate bell boots for covering horses’ hooves, (even glittery strips for those hooves), steel corral components, feed and medical supplies.
Or to outfit a cowboy or cowgirl, such as boots, boots and more boots, in an endless array of colors (purple? teal?) and sizes. Cowboy hats, custom hat-making shops, hat-steaming spots and hat cases for travel. Handbags, including the concealed-carry variety. Jewelry. Clothing ranging from T-shirts to finely tailored leather garments. Oilskin dusters. Scarves. Belts. Holsters. Work gloves. Spurs. Fox tails. Books and other material for the Christian roper and barrel racer. A camo or purple beer belt that can hold a whole six-pack.
Or to outfit a ranch, whether it be a suburban tract home or on a massive spread in Texas: Everything for a cowboy Christmas tree, including ornaments, denim or bandanna-print garland and accents such as a $325 hand-pieced cowhide tree skirt. Tooled leather furniture and accessories including chairs, ottomans, stools, benches, buckets and wall hangings. Nevada wild-horse photography. Western photography, paintings and posters. Bronze statuary including a monumental $65,000 stag. Exercise machines. Pendulum swings with canopies. Barrel smokers. Humidifiers (hey, it’s a desert out there). Dishes, silverware, napkin rings, table runners, leather trivets and kitchen tools with handles ornately embossed in the Western style. Rugs of all sizes. Tennessee Moonshine cakes, jams, honey and hot sauce. Large metal ranch signs, and indoor signs that say things like “Live every day like it’s Taco Tuesday” or “Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the game warden.” Make-your-own bourbon, whiskey, Scotch and rum. Vintage coin-operated horse rides, the kind that used to be outside every grocery store in the country. Roping dummies in action, giving kids an opportunity to try their hand. Even NFR 60th anniversary commemorative firearms.
Maureen Frank of Parker, Colorado, walking around with a regulation NFR jacket, said she’s attended the annual event 15 to 20 times, and comes in large part because her favorite jeweler, Ornaments, is an exhibitor.
Veronica Ambriz, who co-owns Ambriz Jewelry in Fredericksburg, Texas, with her husband, Adolfo, has been attending every year since 2000 to offer the couple’s silver, leather and wood creations. She said the show is a collection of mini-cultures that often can be identified by what they’re wearing. A guy in a Stetson is likely to be from Texas or the Southwest, she said, while Montana cowboys wear round hats. Those from Montana also like to wear silk scarves, she said; “in Texas it’s too hot.”
“We love the show,” said Ambriz, who said the couple does the Texas rodeo circuit as well. “Where else do you see, in one spot, so many cowboys from all over — east to west, all over the United States? Every state has their own little culture, but it’s all one big cowboy culture.”