One of the most anticipated events surrounding the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each year in Las Vegas has nothing to do with riding broncos or roping calves, but shoppers are sure to snag a great gift at the 2011 Cowboy Christmas Gift Show.
Now in its 26th year, the annual gift show, held Dec. 1-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center North Hall, has grown from a few vendors displaying their handmade goods to over 400 exhibitors from across the United States and Canada.
The annual event is also one of the best places to find official Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and WNFR gear for sale.
Last year’s show drew more than 138,000 shoppers over 10 days, so plan to go early for the best selection. Aznarez said the show organizers planned for marathon shopping sessions, with bars and food booths readily available, as well as bag checks when purchases start to pile up. “We really try to accommodate the shopper who would spend multiple hours here or even multiple days,” she said.
If hours of shopping seem overwhelming, there are other events and activities to enjoy throughout the day. Three big-screen televisions, strategically placed throughout the hall, will broadcast the previous night’s Wrangler NFR performance, and autograph sessions will be held with various celebrities and rodeo contestants. Sunday only will feature a live feed of the performances, Aznarez revealed.
Fans who enjoy live entertainment will surely enjoy “Outside The Barrel with Flint Rasmussen,” a popular variety show hosted by the eight-time PRCA Clown of the Year (and eight-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Barrelman). Featuring guests from the rodeo, country music and beyond, the show blends interviews with down-home humor.
On Dec. 9, lucky attendees can also meet the contestants for the Miss Rodeo America pageant starting at 1:30 p.m., free of charge.
If patrons can tear themselves away from the great deals, there is also a ticket exchange service in the lobby where fans can get those last-minute seats to the NFR action, as well as a complimentary one-way shuttle directly to the Thomas & Mack.
The Cowboy Christmas Gift Show is open to the public and runs from Thursday to Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free. With the exception of Sunday, parking is charged.