National Finals Rodeo will make its home in Las Vegas.More than 2,000 tons of dirt has been brought in to help transform the Thomas & Mack Center into the home of rodeo’s main event.
And this year’s NFR promises lots of lead changes, a new all-around champion and a wide-open field in many events as 120 competitors descend on the Thomas & Mack Center beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“The NFR obviously it’s just the Super Bowl of rodeo,” PRCA commissioner Karl Stressman said. “It’s one of those things where everybody wants to come and take a look at.”
Wrangler National Finals Rodeo action in the dirt, here’s hot-and-heavy performance action on our stages:
30th Annual Hoedown with Old Dominion and Sawyer Brown (Nov. 30, Fremont Street Experience) Tradition reigns once more on the stages of Fremont Street as this six-act country cornucopia–including Jackson Michelson, High Valley, Aaron Watson and Craig Campbell–culminates with twin firepower. Originally a country-pop band that deepened its repertoire with rich ballads, Sawyer Brown has placed more than 50 singles on the Billboard Hot Country charts, with three hitting No. 1, while 20 studio albums have yielded three certified gold. Specializing in contemporary country but utilizing rock instrumentation with pop and hip hop influences, Old Dominion released their first, self-titled EP in 2014, with their debut album, Meat and Candy dropping last year, including the hit single, “Break Up with Him.”
Reba, Brooks & Dunn (Nov. 30, Dec. 2-3, 7, 9, 10, Caesars Palace) Two acts, three legends, six nights—the math adds up for this superstar residency. Performing jointly (crooning the playful “Play Something Country”) and in solo sets, these country vets have front-loaded this production with hits, including Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn’s “Neon Moon” and the anthemic “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” and Reba McEntire’s “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” and a goose-bump-raising rendition of her signature song, “Fancy.”
Terri Clark (Dec. 1, Golden Nugget) A Canadian songbird with country in her gut, Clark has created a kind of girl-power niche–with hits including “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me,” “Emotional Girl,” “In My Next Life,” “Girls Lie Too,” “If I Were You” and “You’re Easy on the Eyes”—and is a leader of the “bra-country movement” to bring more female country artists to the airwaves. As one critic put it: “She’s about the sort of wisecracking, in-your-face country-rockers that have traditionally been a male domain.”
Mark Willis (Dec. 2, Hard Rock Hotel) This dude’s got the goods—musically and statistically. Between 1996 and 2003, Willis landed—count ’em—16 singles on the Billboard country charts, all of which reached the top 40. Born in Cleveland, Tenn. and raised in Blue Ridge, Georgia, the prolific troubadour—who was originally inspired by Bon Jovi before U-turning into country– has churned out hits including “19 Somethin,” “Jacob’s Ladder,” “Places I’ve Never Been,” “I Do,” “Don’t Laugh at Me” and “She’s in Love.
Here are five things to watch from the NFR, which runs nightly through Dec. 10
Hockey players are tough. Football players are tougher. But the toughest athletes of all? No question, rodeo cowboys.
You might chuckle at the colorful chaps, the shiny spurs and those Stetson cowboy hats. But to watch the National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s 10-day extravaganza that starts Thursday night in Las Vegas, is to appreciate the endurance of pain.
Rodeo cowboys, whether they’re riding bucking bulls, bucking broncs or the adrenaline of the other five events, are known to have competed with broken ribs, broken bones and concussions that, if they were in the NFL, would relegate them to the sidelines. Some of the competitors actually seem to celebrate the pain, and they have little choice but to tolerate it.
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — National Finals Rodeo is riding into Las Vegas and the cowboys are already practicing for the main event at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The event brings the best in the rodeo business to town, but before everyone saddles up, the warm up parties are entertaining thousands of people visiting for the occasion.