Each December, Las Vegas goes a little crazy for country. Cowboys descend on the city and country music abounds when the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo returns.
The rodeo features competitions in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding.
The event at the Thomas & Mack Center at the University of Nevada Las Vegas has been a sellout for 26 years in a row. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do all over town if you don’t have a ticket — and much of it is free. You might even be lucky enough to snag a last-minute seat (see below).
The site, wranglernetwork.com, features rodeo and country music content as well as news and was intended as a content marketing ploy to get customers engaging with the apparel brand.
But well-known marketers saw the site, which the company says averages about 1 million monthly visitors, as a destination to reach their target customers.
Cooler brand Yeti and MGM Grand are among the advertisers on the site, which has enjoyed a 100% increase in revenue from ads in 2016, compared to 2015, said a company spokeswoman. Some annual ad deals with brands can reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, said Craig Errington, vice president of marketing communications at Wrangler.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has announced the international live streaming of the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER. International ProRodeo fans this year will be able to watch the Wrangler NFR live and on-demand by visiting WNFR.TV and following the link to the paid viewing platform.
Lunsford said many friends and family will be watching him back home, and the event will be televised at a later date on RFD TV. People can also watch the event live
Lunsford is scheduled to start competing at 8 a.m. Thursday. Qualifiers will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, and finals start at 3:15 p.m. Sunday.
Lunsford said he would like to thank his sponsors and everyone that supported him getting to the championship in Las Vegas.
Also competing in Las Vegas is Girard native, Anthony Pike, who finished second at the Midwest regional finals.
The 58th annual Wrangler NFR, which will run Dec. 1-10 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, this year features an international field, including French bareback rider Evan Jayne, who last year became the first European-born cowboy ever to qualify for the WNFR in any event, and world leaders in three other categories of competition. Brazilian Junior Nogueira leads the world all-around race, and also the pack of team roping heelers in his trademark event. Nogueira’s countryman Marcos Costa leads the world tie-down roping race.
This year’s Canadian contingent — at eight strong — is the largest to ride for the Maple Leaf in 15 years, and is comprised of bareback riders Orin Larsen and Jake Vold; saddle bronc riders Zeke Thurston, Clay Elliott and Jake Watson; and team ropers Kolton Schmidt, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler.
To access the international live coverage and limited re-airs of all Wrangler NFR performances, visit WNFR.TV and follow the link to visit the paid viewing platform to subscribe to watch.
LAS VEGAS — Quintonn Lunsford, of McCune, will climb into the chute Thursday for his first bareback ride at the Mini Bareback Riding World Championship.
Lunsford’s father and grandfather were both bull riders. After sheep, Lunsford moved up to steer riding and then began bareback.
Earlier this year, he became the Risen Ranch Family Rodeo Circuit Champion in steer riding and bareback riding. His victory in the RRFRC qualified him to compete at the Midwest Regional Finals Rodeo in Carthage, Missouri.
Lunsford took first place in bareback riding at the Midwest regional, which qualified him to ride in Vegas.