So I am headed to the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver, CO in exactly one week! I am beyond excited to see everything. So I thought I would read up on one of the largest Stock shows in North America, and what started it all.
It all started in 1899, with some informal livestock shows hosted in Denver, on an irregular basis. Finally in 1905, a group of interested stakeholders met in December. The site of the Stockyards was choosen, which was kept until 2001.
The very first organized show was held on January 29, 1906 and ran for 6 days. The first General Manager was chosen as Harry Petrie. There was an estimated 15,000 spectators for this beginning year.
The 1906 Grand Champion steer sold for 33 cents per pound, which was a whopping 23 cents over the current market price. Things started out very strong for the very first NWSS.
March 1906, the not for profit organization was officially incorporated.
The Horse Division was added in 1907, and in 1909 Aberdeen Angus, Hereford and Shorthorn breeds were added to the program.
1909 was the first year they charged admission, which was a quarter. (I WISH!)
Finally in 1911they built the two and three story barns, as well as a club building. The program also expanded this year, to include poultry and beef carcass classes.
In 1915, the show had to be canceled due to the Foot and Mouth disease epidemic, which did not allow livestock to cross state lines. This was the only year in the shows 106 year history it was cancelled.
A program for admiting school children to the show was established in 1922.
The show started to feel the effects of the Great Depression in 1926, and lasted until 1933.
Rodeo was introduced into the shows program in 1932, as a part of the 25th anniversary celebration, which also included building the Lamont Pavillion.
The 1935 show added the first Cath-a-Calf contest and included girls in 1974, and in 1941 the Grand Champion steer was shown by a 12 year old, Kenny Monfort!
The show was forced to be confined to local participation due to the repercussions of World War II. In 1952, the ground expanded to include the Denver Coliseum.
The 60s was a great year for adding to the show program, to include Appaloosa, Paint and Pinto classes, as well as a Charolais cattle class.
1972 was a difficult year for show officials. Their Grand Champion Steer was deemed to be ineligible, s it was entered at the American Royal show as a white steerm and was dyed black for the NWSS.
The 80s ws also a huge year for the show, as 1980 helped expand the show to include Bison, and was the year the National Western Scholarship Fund was added. 1987 opened the International Center, and registered over 600 guests. 1988 was a record year of attendance, to include over half a million people.
In 1996 the 90th Western Stock SHow expanded to 16 days with 23 rodeo performances, 11 Hrose shows and 2 Mexican rodeos.
The Pro Rodeo Cowboy's Association named the National Western as the worlds #1 indoor Rodeo in 1997.
Coming into the digital age, the show went online at nationalwestern.com in 1998.
The new millennium was an opening year for dairy cow milking competition, wild horse races, and a stick horse rodeo for kids.
An all new Western Heritage Week took place in the stockyards in 2009 including the first annual Stockdog sale, All Breeds Bull Sale and a Celebrity Chuck Wagon Cook-off.
Despite the severe cold and snow, last year during the first week of the show alone, attendance hit over 600,000 people!
I am beyond excited to be heading to Denver for a short 5 days, but I can not wait to share this experience with my college family.