LAS VEGAS -- The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo has returned to Las Vegas Dec. 1-10 for 10 days of competion, fan events and celebrations.The Thomas & Mack Center is home base for competition action, while the Downtown Hoedown lights up the Fremont Street Experience and Cowboy Christmas brings western-themed holiday cheer to the Las Vegas Convention Center, with additional events and concerts taking place throughout Las Vegas.
Each December, the top 15 contestants in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing, and bull riding qualify to compete at the Wrangler NFR. Qualification is based on the 2016 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association World Standings.
During the 10 days of competition, the Wrangler NFR transforms the look and feel of the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” Each year, thousands of rodeo enthusiasts decked out in Wrangler jeans, Justin Boots and cowboy hats fill hotels, casinos, restaurants, shopping malls and showrooms. In addition, hotel marquees are splashed with the names of the brightest stars in country music.
In 2015, the event had a total attendance of 170,966 over the 10 days of competition. The Wrangler NFR has sold out 300 consecutive performances.
The prize money for the participants this year will be $10 million. In fact, the total purse has grown each year that Las Vegas has hosted the Wrangler NFR. In 1985, the purse was just over $1.8 million.Over the past 31 years, the NFR has paid out a total of more than $172 million in prize money to NFR contestants and compensation to stock contractors.
Cowboy Christmas, the only official gift show and interactive experience of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, is open to the public and admission is free. The show features just under 400 exhibitors and will be open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. from December 1-10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Halls. Over the past 30 years, the Cowboy Christmas show has attracted more than 3.68 million people. Located within Cowboy Christmas, fans will be able to enjoy EXPERIENCE: a number of interactive experiences. Elements that will remain in place in 2016 include Rodeo Live presented by RODEOHOUSTON®, Coors Rodeo Saloon, Lucas Oil Rodeo Way exhibits, Wrangler Rodeo Arena, NFR Social Arena,Great Wall of Rodeo presented by Calgary Stampede and additional features.