Cows walking downtown in the National Western Stockshow week

Celebrating 116 Years of the National Western Stock Show

January 17, 2022

The annual National Western Stock Show is in full swing, celebrating 116 years of agricultural education, entertainment, and rich western heritage. Dating back to 1906, the Stock Show is held for 16 days each January and draws upwards of 700,000 attendees from all over the country. Not only does the National Western stake its claim as Colorado’s largest western trade show, it hosts one of the world’s richest regular season professional rodeos. 

Proceeds from the Stock Show go to the National Western Scholarship Trust, which awards 64 scholarships each year to students studying agriculture and medicine to practice in rural regions of Colorado and Wyoming. The show’s latest opportunity, dubbed the Denver Scholarship Program, benefits graduating seniors from public high schools, college preparatory schools, or religious-affiliated schools located in Denver. This new program furthers the National Western’s mission of supporting local, urban youth and inspiring the next generation of agricultural and equestrian leaders. 

The National Western Stock Show Through the Years

When the first Stock Show took place in 1906, four breeds of cattle—Angus, Galloway, Hereford, and Shorthorn—were on display, and 351 cattle, sheep, and hogs made their debut. The inaugural show was so successful that the organizers established the Western Stock Show Association that year as a not-for-profit company.

As the National Western grew in popularity, so did its scope: In 1908, the show expanded to include international entrants and a horse show was added. Years later in 1931, the first rodeo became part of the annual affair. 

Today’s events cover a wide spectrum of western culture and time-honored traditions, ranging from grooming demonstrations and horse shows to mutton busting and cattle dog competitions. This year promises to be extra special as the show’s ranchers, farmers, and agriculture experts return for the first time since the pandemic hit in 2020. 

CU Night at the Stock Show

Friday, Jan. 21 marks CU Night at the Stock Show where University of Colorado fans past and present can congregate to enjoy the festivities together. For many alumni and their families, CU Night has become a tradition they look forward to each winter. Discounted tickets are available for CU Denver students, faculty, and staff, and part of these ticket sales benefit alumni operating activities. Use coupon code CUDENVER to purchase tickets. If you go, please follow the face covering requirements and stay safe.

“This long-standing CU tradition brings together the CU community to one of Colorado’s preeminent events, celebrating American agriculture and community,” said Lauren Jacobs, CU Denver’s associate director of alumni engagement.