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December 7, 2021

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Events guide: Rodeo’s not the only show in town for cowboys, cowgirls

25th Annual Downtown Hoedown

Tom Donoghue/

The 26th Annual Downtown Hoedown takes place Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Fremont Street Experience during the National Finals Rodeo. At the 2011 Hoedown, Scott Alexander, Glen Templeton, Craig Morgan, Lee Brice, Exile, Hunter Hayes and LoCash Cowboys were among the entertainers.

The holidays come a little early for cowboys, cowgirls and country fans as the 2012 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo descends upon Las Vegas once again. In addition to the main event at the Thomas & Mack Center, a slew of country music concerts, autograph-signings and viewing parties will take place. Read on to plan your itinerary and don’t forget your hats!

Wednesday, Dec. 5:

The Fremont Street Experience presents the 26th Annual Downtown Hoedown featuring four free country concerts. On the 1st Street Stage, enjoy music from Dustin Lynch from 6:45 to 7:45 p.m. followed by Uncle Kracker from 9:15 to 10:30 p.m. On the 3rd Street Stage, enjoy music from Jana Kramer from 8 to 9 p.m. and from Clay Walker from 10:40 p.m. to midnight.

The South Point Dance Hall presents nightly entertainment and is home of Montana Silversmith's Go-Round Buckle Presentation, hosted by Flint Rasmussen and Randy Corley each night beginning at 11. Catch the Ram Truck viewing party each night in the Grand Ballroom. The entertainment lineup includes Susie Dobbs, Dec. 5-7; Aaron Watson with Cody Johnson, Dec. 8-11; and McKenna Medley with Wolf Creek, Dec. 12-14.

MGM Grand hosts the 10-day competition that concludes with the crowning of the 2013 Miss Rodeo America. More than 30 contestants will compete for the coveted title with several appearances and activities, including the Miss Rodeo American Fashion Show, autograph-signings and the Miss Rodeo America Coronation. For a full schedule, visit

Thursday, Dec. 6:

The Cowboy Christmas Gift Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center presents over 400 vendors from across the United States and Canada showcasing their unique products, including customized jewelry, western wear, boots and spurs, furniture, original art, handmade crafts and pottery plus Official Wrangler NFR and PRCA merchandise. Ram Truck will host an indoor vehicle display with product specialists on hand, photo opportunities with the Ram Truck cowgirls, Ram Rodeo collectible ornament giveaway and merchandise at the event. There will be free shuttle service from the Cowboy Christmas Gift Show directly to the Thomas & Mack Center for each night’s rodeo performance.

The Ram Trucks at NFR Experience presents an outdoor displayoutdoor display from 4:00 - 11:00 p.m. daily that features a daily concert by Justine Blazer from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. and 9 - 9:45 p.m. at the Thomas and Mack Center Center.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino celebrates NFR with tailgating parties, entertainment, autograph-signings and food and drink specials. The NFR Tailgate in the Harmon parking lot runs from 3 p.m. to midnight Dec. 6–9 and Dec. 13–15. The event features entertainment for all ages with performances on the Cooper Tires stage by duet CJ Simmons (Dec. 6–9) and country rock band Cash Presley (Dec. 6–9, 13–15). Autograph-signing sessions will be staged with riders Cody Whitney from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and Steve Woolsey from 10 to 11 p.m. Dec. 13. Guests can dine on hot dogs and chili dogs while sipping beverages from a two-story Anheuser-Busch bar.

Drink specials include buckets of Bud Light for $20, shot kickers with any drink or beer purchase for $5 and a shot or drink of Crown Royal or Jim Beam for $6. Guests will also be able to participate in drawings on exclusive prizes including western wear from Pinto Ranch at Fashion Show Mall and a grand prize package for the StageCoach Country Festival 2013.

Inside at Vinyl, concertgoers can enjoy free shows including country western band Cletus & Mexican Sweat at 9 p.m. Dec. 6–7, southern rockers Thrillbilly Deluxe at 9 p.m. Dec. 9 and country crooner Derryl Perry at 10 p.m. Dec. 10–13.

Tacos & Tequila inside Luxor celebrates National Finals Rodeo with food and drink specials through Saturday, Dec. 15. Monday-Friday from 2 to 6 p.m., NFR enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of half-priced T&T appetizers including guacamole, queso fundido, nachos, quesadillas, chicken tamales and tostadas, beef flautas and corn on the cob. Drink specials include $5 Dos Equis, Jose Cuervo shots, well drinks, sangria and house red and white wine and $18 buckets of Sol. There will also be a beer and shot cart featuring Coors and specialty Sweet Home Rodeo shots.

PBR Rock Bar at Planet Hollywood celebrates NFR with nightly parties hosted by professional bull riders and Miss Rodeo America 2011, McKenzie Haley. The Strip-side destination will also play host to live performances by Blacktop Gypsy, Phil Hamilton, Austin Allsup and the Ryan Whyte Maloney Band, along with a bull-riding competition complete with $500 in cash and prizes Dec. 6-15. Miss Rodeo America 2011, McKenzie Haley, hosts the party Thursday, Dec. 6-15, every night at 9. Douglas Duncan, Professional Bull Rider and National Finals Rodeo rider, will co-host these events with Haley from Thursday, Dec. 6-10. From Tuesday, Dec. 11, through Thursday, Dec. 13, NFR Saddle Bronc Riding qualifiers Jacobs Crawley and brother Sterling Crawley will co-host with Haley.

Live performances include Blacktop Gypsy at 10 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 10; Austin Allsup and the Ryan Whyte Maloney Band on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m.; and Phil Hamilton on Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 8 p.m.

Guests at Terrible's can enjoy drink specials like $1 PBR, $2 Crown Royal, $3 Patron Silver and $4 Crown Royal Reserve throughout the hotel, beginning at 6:45 p.m. nightly. The Kickin’ Bourbon BBQ ribs and Sizzlin’ T-bone steak will be available for $9.99 at The Bougainvillea Café. Guests will also have the chance to win an officially licensed NFR jacket along with other prizes.

Catch all the NFR action in Excalibur’s Race & Sports Book as well as inside select bars and lounges. The hotel will act as the official home for WNFR Team Roping contestants over the 10-day event with an autograph session scheduled in The Rotunda at Excalibur Monday, Dec. 10, from noon to 2 p.m.

Luxor offers daily drink specials and giveaways at Centra Bar & Lounge, Flight and Aurora Lounge. Additionally, Aurora will be the location for autograph-signings with bull rider Cody Whitney Sunday, Dec. 9 from 1 tp 3 p.m. and bareback rider Tilden Hooper Friday, Dec. 14 from 4 to 6 p.m.

Aria holds nightly live broadcasts at the Race & Sports Book as well as inside select bars and lounges. The resort, serving as the official home to the WNFR Saddle Bronc contestants, will host an autograph session Saturday, Dec. 8 from noon to 2 p.m. in the hotel lobby.

Held in The Mirage Race & Sports Book, the ninth annual “Rodeo Vegas” offers a 24/7 experience during the 10-night NFR celebration. As the Official NFR After-Party of the PRCA, “Rodeo Vegas” presents nightly live entertainment, drink specials and giveaways.

Concerts begin at 10:30 p.m. nightly. The line-up is as follows:

Thursday, Dec. 6: Miss Willie Brown

Friday, Dec. 7: Josh Thompson

Saturday, Dec. 8: Craig Morgan

Dec. 9–12: Sam Riddle

Dec. 13-14: Daryle Singletary & Justin McBride

Saturday, Dec. 15: Chris Cagle

The Western Gift Show in the South Point Arena Concourse and Exhibit Halls A and B is free and open to the public. It features cowboy-themed gifts, crafts and holiday items. The event is ongoing through Dec. 15.

Rodeo Central takes over the LVH-Las Vegas Hotel during NFR. Enjoy drink specials, prize giveaways, complimentary boot shines, happy hour daily beginning at 5 p.m. and a live rodeo broadcast from 7 to 9 p.m. Corey Cox performs at the event Dec. 6-9 and Jason Sturgeon performs Dec. 10-15.

The Country Superstars will kick off National Finals Rodeo celebrations by hosting karaoke at Señor Frog’s Las Vegas. The Country Superstars show offers a live tribute to some of country music’s hottest performers, including Brooks & Dunn, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, and more.

The South Point presents Benny Binion's World Famous Bucking Horse and Bull Sale featuring $10,500 in prize money, $3,500 in each event. The event takes place on Dec. 6 and 8 with the World Futurity Bronc Finale taking place on Dec. 7.

The Crown Royal Gold Buckle Zone, at the Central, MGM Grand's entertainment bar, will provide fans a free party nightly. Activities include free concerts, live music, dancing, Bailey Hats Burlesque performances, drink specials, fashion shows and giveaways including a nightly drawing for a saddle by Cactus Saddlery. WNFR contestants, including nine-time All-Around World Champion Trevor Brazile, also will make nightly appearances. Brazile will host his official World Championship After-Party Saturday, Dec. 15, starting at 9 p.m. Country music duo LoCash Cowboys will perform Dec. 7 and 8 at 11 p.m. Lee Brice, known for hits including “A Woman Like You” and “Hard To Love,” will close MGM Grand’s WNFR festivities with a performance at 11 p.m. Dec. 15.

The Mirage Race & Sports Book offers free nightly live broadcasts of all of the Wrangler NFR action. Join Brandon Bates, on-air talent for the Outdoor Channel’s series “Team Elk,” as he hosts the events, which will include prize drawings and giveaways from Bud Light, Crown Royal and Wrangler throughout the broadcasts.

Stand up comedian Rodney Carrington blends comedy and music in his acts, and that combination has led him to sell millions of comedy albums. He co-wrote and starred in the film Beer for my Horses alongside Toby Keith. He’ll appear at the MGM Grand at 10 p.m. Dec. 6 – 15.

Country band Ricky and the Red Streaks will perform at 10 p.m. in the Crossroads venue at the House of Blues.

The Mandalay Bay Convention Center East Parking Lot hosts the Cowboy Marketplace presented by Roper. Guest can enjoy a Western shopping experience featuring more than 300 Western vendors, offering everything from home goods to clothing.

Mizuya Lounge at Mandalay Bay presents a nightly live viewing party of the WNFR, hosted by trick roper Anthony Lucia, who will offer commentary. Guests can also enjoy giveaways and drink specials provided by Bud Light and Jack Daniel's. Following the broadcasts, live complimentary entertainment will be available nightly starting at 9 p.m. The lineup is as follows:

Dec. 6-7: Tony Marques

Dec. 8-10: Fairchild

Dec. 11–12: Vegas Twang

Dec. 13–15: Randy Brown Band

Mandalay Bay offers a large number of autograph-signings during the NFR. The schedule is as follows:

• Who: USTRC Autograph Session with Chad Masters and Kaleb Driggers

Where: Mizuya Lounge

When: Thursday, Dec. 6, 10-11 p.m.

• Who: USTRC Autograph Session with Kevin Daniel and Chase Tryan joined by Jack Daniel’s Bull Rider Rocky McDonald

Where: Mizuya Lounge

When: Friday, Dec. 7, 10-11 p.m.

• Who: USTRC Autograph Session with Charly Crawford and Travis Graves joined by Jack Daniel's Bull Rider Rocky McDonald

Where: Mizuya Lounge

When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 10-11 p.m.

• Who: WNFR Bullfighters Darrell Diefenbach, Dusty Tuckness and Kenny Bergeron Autograph Signing

Where: Cowboy Marketplace

When: Sunday, Dec. 9, noon-1 p.m.

• Who: USTRC Autograph Session with Luke Brown and Martin Lucero

Where: Mizuya Lounge

When: Sunday, Dec. 9, 10-11 p.m.

• Who: USTRC Autograph Session with Dustin Bird and Paul Eaves

Where: Mizuya Lounge

When: Monday, Dec. 10, 10-11 p.m.

• Who: USTRC Autograph Session with Brock Hanson and Ryan Motes

Where: Mizuya Lounge

When: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 10-11 p.m.

• Who: USTRC Autograph Session with Erich Rogers and Kory Koontz

Where: Mizuya Lounge

When: Thursday, Dec. 13, 10-11 p.m.

• Who: USTRC Autograph Session with Turtle Powell and Dugan Kelly joined by Jack Daniel’s Bull Rider Rocky McDonald

Where: Mizuya Lounge

When: Friday, Dec. 14, 10-11 p.m.

• Who: Jack Daniel’s Bull Rider Rocky McDonald Autograph Session

Where: Mizuya Lounge

When: Saturday, Dec. 15, 10-11 p.m.

The 2012 Wrangler NFR performances will broadcast live nightly at The Pub at Monte Carlo as well as inside the Race & Sports Book. The Pub will offer guests a happy hour from 3 to 6 p.m. Monday–Friday featuring $1 wings and sliders, 2-for-1 select domestic drafts and well drinks, as well as a Bud Light and a shot of Jack Daniel’s for $5. Line-dancing lessons are offered from 5:45–6:45 p.m. nightly. Additionally, the Bareback Riding contestants will make appearances, meeting rodeo fans and assisting with giveaways. Following the broadcasts, live entertainment will be available nightly from 9 p.m. to midnight. DJ Kirk will entertain the crowd Thursday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 9–13 while Marshal Reign will take the stage Friday, Dec. 7–8 and Friday, Dec. 14-15.

Friday, Dec. 7:

Fremont Street Experience and the Nevada Barbecue Association host the first-ever Downtown Throwdown Barbecue Championships. On Friday, Dec. 7 starting at 6 p.m. cooks will compete in the chili cook-off and on Saturday, Dec. 8 starting at noon the competition will feature a barbecue cook-off. The public is invited to enjoy delicious samples of chili, ribs, chicken, brisket and pork during the 2-day event as guests can purchase the food from some of the best cowboy cooks around. Guests' votes determine the “People’s Choice” winner, based on their opinions of 2 oz. sampling cups, available for $1 each. Every 10 samples purchased earns 1 ticket to vote for the People’s Choice. Additional private judging will be held to award first, second and third place in various categories. The awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, at 5 p.m. on the 3rd Street Stage with Crown Royal rodeo riders Wes Silcox (bull rider) and Tildon Hooper (bareback rider) handing out the winning trophies. They will also be signing autographs and taking photos with fans from 4 – 6 p.m.

Ron White, best known as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the "Blue Collar Comedy Tour," will perform stand-up comedy inside the Terry Fator Theatre at The Mirage.

Champion bareback rider Tilden Hooper, representing Crown Royal during the National Finals Rodeo, will make an appearance at Senor Frog’s Las Vegas to sign autographs and greet rodeo fans. The 2007 PRCA Bareback Rookie of the Year is also the winner of the San Angelo Rodeo, Laughlin River Stampede and co-champion of the Reno Rodeo and Marshall Pro Rodeo.

Merle Haggard heads to The Golden Nugget to perform his hits like "Okie from Muskogee", "The Fightin' Side Of Me" and "Mama Tried" over two nights.

The MGM Grand hosts a plethora of autograph-signings from NFR personalities. The schedule is as follows:

• Who: 2012–2013 Miss Rodeo America contestants

Where: Crown Royal Gold Buckle Zone

When: Friday, Dec. 7, 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

• Who: Miss Rodeo America 2012 Mackenzie Carr

Where: Crown Royal Gold Buckle Zone

When: Saturday, Dec. 8, 9:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

• Who: Crown Royal Bull Riders

Where: Crown Royal Gold Buckle Zone

When: Monday, Dec. 10 and Wednesday, Dec. 12, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

• Who: Cowboy All-Stars Autograph Session – more than 17 World Champion cowboys and cowgirls including nine-time All-Around World Champion Trevor Brazile

Where: MGM Grand Lobby

When: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• Who: All-Star Autograph Session with nine-time and reigning All-Around World Champion Trevor Brazile

Where: MGM Grand Lobby

When: Thursday, Dec. 13, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• Who: WNFR Tie-Down Ropers Autograph Session

Where: MGM Grand Lobby

When: Friday, Dec. 14, noon to 2 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 8:

Country music star Rodney Atkins will perform hits like “If You’re Going Through Hell,” “It’s America,” “These Are My People” and “15 Minutes” at The House of Blues.

Sunday, Dec. 9:

Priefert presents the World Series of Team Roping which takes place in the South Point Arena. The prize pool is up to $1,744,000, so expect some fierce competition.

The legendary Charlie Daniels Band, best known for the hit "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," will perform at the Golden Nugget for a two-night stint.

Monday, Dec. 10:

The Mirage will think pink as the NFR, in conjunction with Wrangler, hosts the Official Wrangler Tough Enough To Wear Pink After-Party in the Race & Sports Book. Contestants and rodeo fans are encouraged to wear pink to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research. Wrangler VIP Lounge packages are $100 with all proceeds benefiting breast cancer research. The packages include VIP seating for the live performances by country musicians Maggie Rose and Sam Riddle, all-you-can-drink Bud Light drafts, a meet and greet with the Team Mirage cowboys and cowgirls and a Chicks ‘n Chaps swag bag.

Tuesday, Dec. 11:

The Art of the American Cowboy Sale & Auction takes place in South Point's Exhibit Hall C. Get a jump on your holiday shopping. The event runs through Dec. 15.

Country stars The Oak Ridge Boys perform at the Golden Nugget over two nights. Their four-part harmonies and upbeat songs like "Elvira", "Bobbie Sue" and "American Made" have earned them a variety of awards over the past four decades.

Thursday, Dec. 13:

Ram Trucks' Ride & Drive takes place Dec. 13th - 15th from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the MGM Grand. Participants will receive a $20 voucher to spend at the National Roper Supply Show.

Monte Carlo hosts WNFR autograph signings at The Pub. The schedule is as follows:

• Who: WNFR Bareback Riders

Where: The Pub

When: Thursday, Dec. 13, noon to 2 p.m.

• Who: Jack Daniel’s Bull Rider Rocky McDonald

Where: The Pub

When: Friday, Dec. 14 and Saturday, Dec. 15, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Country/pop superstar LeAnn Rimes has two Grammy Awards, three Academy of Country Music Awards and 12 Billboard Music Awards to her name. Hear the chart-topping songstress sing her famous hits like “How Do I Live”, "Can't Fight the Moonlight" and "Blue" at the LVH Theater.

Country superstar Randy Travis performs at the Golden Nugget for two nights. One of best-selling country artists of all time, Travis' lifetime sales have exceeded 20 million units.

Friday, Dec. 14:

Country singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson performs at the Royale Pavilion at the Riviera. His songwriting awards include accolades for 2005’s “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” which Jamey co-wrote for Trace Adkins.

Saturday, Dec. 15:

Trace Adkins performs at the Royale Pavilion at the Riviera. After fifteen years and ten albums, the country superstar is known for songs like "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk", "Just Fishin'" and "This Ain't No Love Song."

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