The Cowboy Channel’s Cowboy Christmas shatters attendance figures
The NFR has now sold out 360 consecutive performances in Las Vegas, while The Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas comes to a close for the 37th time
LAS VEGAS (December 17, 2023) – The Wrangler National Finals Rodeoâ, which started a day later than scheduled, ran from Dec. 8 – 16 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas culminated after 10 straight days at the Las Vegas Convention Center and posted record attendance.
Due to the tragic events that occurred on the UNLV Campus on Wednesday, Dec. 6, the original starting date was cancelled. A make-up round, attended by the families of the contestants and stock contractors, UNLV faculty, staff and students, and first responders, was added on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 13 to allow for the full 10 rounds to be contested. The original $11.5 million purse remained in place and was paid out in full over the nine days of competition.
Prior to the start of the Wrangler NFR, Las Vegas Events and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association agreed to an extension that will keep the rodeo in Las Vegas through 2035.
Total attendance over the nine fully-attended rounds reached 157,580, an average of 17,509. Since the Wrangler NFR’s arrival in Las Vegas in 1985, total attendance for the 38 years at the Thomas & Mack Center has surpassed 6.5 million.
In addition to the rodeo action, the NFR Experience events up and down the Las Vegas Strip and downtown culminated on Saturday evening. Over the ten days of the Wrangler NFR, there were more than 100 concerts and 30 locations that offered NFR Live presented by Teton Ridge, the official satellite feed of the rodeo.
The action on the dirt was competitive and intense from start to finish, with 119 total contestants vying for the coveted PRCA Gold Buckle. At the end, the following earned the title of world champion: Keenan Hayes, bareback riding; Tyler Waguespack, steer wrestling; Tyler Wade (header) and Wesley Thorp (heeler), team roping; Zeke Thurston, saddle bronc riding; Riley Webb, tie-down roping; Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi, barrel racing and Ky Hamilton, bull riding. Stetson Wright claimed the All-Around title. For the full recap, click here. Video highlights are available here.
Meanwhile, the 10 days of shopping and entertainment at The Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas also culminated on Dec. 16. The official gift show of the Wrangler NFR featured more than 400 exhibitors from across the U.S. Total attendance at the Central and South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center – which incorporates both The Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Hunter & Outdoor Christmas Expo – was 369,653, up from 279,465 in 2022. Over the past 37 years, Cowboy Christmas has attracted more than 5.5 million attendees.
This year, the winners of the Best Booth Contest at The Cowboy Channel Cowboy Christmas were Samsville Gallery and Minky Couture. Each of the winning exhibitors will receive a prize package that includes a commemorative plaque, inclusion in NFR Experience social media channels as well as custom profiles in both NFR Rewind Magazine and the 2024 NFR Fan Guide. Finally, each winner will receive a $1,000 discount toward their 2024 booth renewal.
Known as the richest and most prestigious rodeo in the world, the Wrangler NFR attracts the top 15 contestants in each of the seven rodeo events.