Madison McDonald’s patriotic performance at the 2017 National Finals Rodeo
The Las Vegas calendar is unique in that there’s an occasion for every costume, and for 10 days this month the city will once again be saturated with wide-brimmed hats, pointed-toe boots and diamond-studded belt buckles, as the 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (nfrexperience.com) kicks up the dirt at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. Much more than a gathering of cowboy cosplay, the season-ending “Super Bowl of rodeo” is among Las Vegas’ most lucrative (and sold out) events, with more than 169,000 attendees in 2018. The 35th edition of NFR in Las Vegas will see riders and ropers competing for their share of $10 million and the coveted Gold Buckle, while the city itself is transformed into “a customized Western lifestyle experience that can’t be duplicated anywhere in the world,” explains Pat Christenson, Las Vegas events president. When fans aren’t in the stands cheering, they’ll be shopping for high-end Western wear at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s “Cowboy Christmas” and flocking to the city’s biggest concert venues for the likes of Shania Twain, Gary Allan, Dwight Yoakam, Old Dominion, George Strait and other country music icons. Giddy up and get down.
Photography by: Phil Doyle