News & Updates

National Western Stock Show cancels kickoff parade because of COVID-19 concerns

With weather forecasts calling for snow and “dangerously low temperatures,” National Western Stock Show officials canceled the downtown parade and an event planned at McGregor Square in Denver on Thursday.

“We will not risk animal safety with slick streets,” President and CEO Paul Andrews said Tuesday. “Being right isn’t always popular; and being popular isn’t always right. We made the right decision, although a very tough one here.”

“After meeting with weather professionals, veterinarians, livestock and horse experts, we have decided to cancel the parade this Thursday,” Andrews said in a statement. “The forecast calls for snow Wednesday evening and continuing through the night. The larger problems are the single-digit temperatures and high winds making for icy conditions.

“Due to the risk for the parade entries traveling to Denver in high-profile vehicles hauling animals and hitches, as well as the risk for the animals along the parade route, the decision has been made to cancel.”

After the 2021 show was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns, many were looking forward to this year’s kickoff parade, where longhorn steers march down 17th Street and end up in the lobby of the posh Brown Palace Hotel.

First responders were going to be this year’s grand marshal — a first, instead of one or two people serving as grand marshal.

While the 16-day show opens Saturday morning at the Stock Show grounds and Denver Coliseum, Friday is going to be a big day with the ribbon cutting for the new stockyards and the Colorado State University Spur campus, which hosts an event for the new Vida building Friday afternoon.

There’s also high national interest — livestock owners from 42 states registered to show animals at the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo 2022, which runs through Jan. 23. More than 700,000 people are expected to participate in the celebration of agriculture, rodeo, commerce and Western heritage, Andrews said.

“Start with the grand opening of the new stockyards. That alone makes this year’s ticket a historic keepsake,” Andrews said previously, noting the last time the show had a stockyard grand opening was in 1906.

“These stockyards will forever change the way livestock are marketed in the United States,” he said.