Las Vegas Sun

January 18, 2018

Currently: 51° — Complete forecast

2012 National Finals Rodeo:

How the National Finals Rodeo stacks up against other big Las Vegas events


Leila Navidi

The opening ceremonies of the final round of the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas Saturday, December 10, 2011.

Las Vegas gets its share of big gatherings throughout the year, from summer music festivals to conventions and 10-day events such as the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

The NFR, considered the Super Bowl of the professional rodeo world, is a major revenue generator for Las Vegas in December, as the city saddles up for thousands of cowboys and cowgirls.

Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association competitors and fans gather each evening at the Thomas & Mack Center for 10 rounds of rodeo events, featuring thousands of dollars in prize money.

Tickets regularly sell out, and many casinos carry the events live in their sports books to accommodate fans who are shut out from the rodeo arena.

This year's event is estimated to bring 175,275 people through the turnstiles over 10 days to see the top PRCA competitors in bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling and barrel racing.

The rodeo has been in Las Vegas since 1985 and is the Thomas & Mack Center's biggest client.

Here's a look at how the NFR compares with the area's other big events:

    • New Year's Eve on the Strip

      The biggest one-night draw in Las Vegas — the annual New Year's Eve celebration — takes over the entire Strip and downtown. Last year, Times Square in New York City was named the No. 1 destination for revelers in’s list of New Year’s Eve party destinations. The Strip was ranked No. 2.

      Las Vegas regularly attracts more than 300,000 people for New Year's Eve fireworks on the Strip. The crowd reached an estimated 314,000 last year, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

      That means lots of people cavorting in casinos, bars and nightclubs. Metro Police shuts down the Strip to vehicles to allow revelers to swarm Las Vegas Boulevard, as well.

    • Electric Daisy Carnival

      The June 2012 festival — featuring music, costumes and electronic arts — brought in 320,000 attendees during its three-day weekend, dusk-to-dawn shows at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, according to Insomniac, the show’s promoters.

      That was an increase of 90,000 fans from 2011, the festival’s first year in Las Vegas after leaving Los Angeles. About 90 percent of the attendees in 2012 traveled from outside the Las Vegas area, according to the show’s producers.

    • Tony Stewart (14) leads coming out of a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race, Sunday, March 11, 2012, in Las Vegas.

      NASCAR Weekend

      The annual racing weekend in March attracts thousands of motor sports fans. Racing fans from across the country come to Southern Nevada to watch the races at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

      This year, the Sprint Cup race attracted a crowd of 112,250, who watched Tony Stewart take the lead with 30 laps to go, holding off Jimmie Johnson. In 2007, 156,000 spectators attended, the event's largest crowd to date.

    • International Consumer Electronics Show

      The annual gathering brought in 153,000 gadget fans and gurus to Las Vegas in January.

      An even larger gathering is anticipated next year, when 155,000 people are expected to attend the Jan. 8-11, 2013, show. Those who attend can expect to hear geek speak in a lot of languages because the event brings as many as 30,000 foreign visitors to town.

    • Grateful Dead at Sam Boyd Stadium

      The original jam band played a series of annual shows in Las Vegas throughout the early 1990s, with the last taking place in 1995, shortly before frontman Jerry Garcia's death. That year's three-show series at Sam Boyd Stadium sold 135,000 tickets. The popularity of the shows paved the way for similar megaconcerts featuring Paul McCartney, the Eagles and U2.

    • SEMA and AAPEX shows

      SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association show, blasts into Las Vegas every fall for the biggest automotive specialty products display in the world. It is part of Automotive Aftermarket Week in Las Vegas, which also features the Automotive Aftermarket Products Exposition.

      This year's events, Oct. 30 through Nov. 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Sands Exposition Center, drew some 130,000 attendees.

    • Teri Hatcher speaks at the opening of the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas on Monday, April 16, 2012.

      National Association of Broadcasters

      The National Association of Broadcasters regularly brings in almost 100,000 celebrities, exhibitors and experts on multimedia each year to Las Vegas.

      The 2012 event, April 13-19, drew 92,000 attendees, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Speakers included actresses Betty White and Teri Hatcher.

    • MAGIC fashion show

      MAGIC is the largest fashion trade event in North America and is held each February and August in Las Vegas.

      The August event drew 80,000 attendees, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. Among the celebrities showing off their product lines was rapper Soulja Boy, who was at the BLVD Supply booth.

    Join the Discussion:

    Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

    Full comments policy