Every December, Las Vegas welcomes a herd of rodeo fans to the sport’s biggest event: the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, a ten-day event at the Thomas and Mack Center. The NFR is rodeo’s Super Bowl/World Series, and every night of the event plays to a sold-out arena. (If you want to get tickets for the NFR, plan early–it’s been a sold-out event for the past 20 years.)
This year’s NFR began on December 2, and the final rounds will be on Saturday, December 11. Winners are determined by totaling the contestants’ earnings during the regular season and their earnings in the NFR. Fans who can’t watch the roping, riding, and wrangling in person can tune into ESPN for full coverage.
The rodeo’s most popular event is bull riding, the last event of every evening. It’s hard to decide who to root for–the cowboys or the bulls–although even when they “lose,” the bulls can still chase the cowboys out of the ring.
Photo of bronc rider courtesy of Michael Martin
Photo of bull rider courtesy of Allan Harris