National Western Stock Show

About NWSS

The National Western Stock Show takes place during the month of January in Denver, Colorado. The 16-day show serves as an entertainment arena, hosting one of the world’s richest regular season professional rodeos, the “Super Bowl” of Livestock Shows, nationally recognized Horse Shows and Colorado’s largest Western Trade Show.

Our Mission:
It is our mission to serve producers and consumers throughout the world by being the premier Stock Show, Rodeo, Horse Show and center for year-round events. As a 501 (c)(3) charitable non-profit organization governed by the Western Stock Show Association’s Board of Directors, the National Western provides college and graduate level scholarships in agriculture and medicine for practice in rural areas.

The National Western Stock Show is considered the Super Bowl of Livestock Shows as one of the World’s Largest Cattle Shows!

The National Western Stock Show hosts nearly 20 breeds of cattle during its 16-day run.

Visitors are able to view traditional competition among exhibitors of breeding animals ultimately used for seedstock in agricultural production (beef cattle, sheep and goats). National Western also offers competition among exhibitors of animals used primarily for recreation or companionship (llamas, alpacas, poultry and dogs). Viewing these events is all part of the Stock Show experience and can be done with a grounds admission ticket.

Youth involvement is one of the highlights of the livestock shows. Young exhibitors from across the nation participate in our competitive arenas for prize monies, national recognition for their achievements and a chance at college scholarships.

Each year, hundreds of young agriculturists from across the country converge on Denver with their prize stock in tow. These youth between the ages of 9 and 18 spend thousands of hours over a period of months feeding, grooming and preparing their animals to compete in one of the largest youth exhibitions in the nation. Many of these youths also attend school, participate in 4-H and FFA chapters and compete in a number of other extracurricular activities concurrently.What is their reward? National Western junior livestock exhibitors have the opportunity to win prize money, trailers, scholarships and awards. Additionally, 90 of the best animals qualify for the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions, where a winning animal could sell for more than $100,000.

The National Western hosts junior market livestock competitions for steers, lambs, swine and goats in the market-ready classifications. There are also competitions for breeding heifers and ewe lambs, as well.

Additional special youth programs include the 4-H Catch-A-Calf, FFA Heifer Wrangle, Premier Exhibitor and Carcass competitions. The llama show, alpacas show, sheep lead competition and wool show also include youth divisions.

The youth programs at the National Western Stock Show not only are a vital part of our success, but also are a large part of the mission put forth in the National Western Charter.


The Livestock department processes in excess of 20,000 entries for each years National Western Stock Show. Known as the “Superbowl” of Livestock Events, exhibitors bring their livestock from all over the United States and Canada. Livestock producers and educators come from all over the world to view and buy the best livestock on earth!Livestock exhibited at the National Western include more than 20 breeds of beef cattle along with bison, yaks and longhorns, sheep, hogs, goats, poultry, llamas and alpacas. Stock dog herding competitions are also held. Along with the many events in the main Hall and Stadium Arena, known as the “Hill”, the historic Denver Stock Yards is home to multiple cattle shows that include pens and carloads of cattle in competition.

The “Yards” is the only event of its kind in North America and is a Mecca of activity for the livestock industry. Held in the brisk open air of Denver in January the “Yards” is also home to many cattle sales where the best are auctioned off to the highest bidders. Producers display their livestock in the pens just as they have for decades at the National Western Stock Show.

The specialty shows during Stock Show are not to be missed! Check out all these specialty breeds you can find during January.Alpacas
Boer Goats
Open Breeding
Stock Dogs

The Herdsire Display Area is a huge attraction for cattlemen and cattlewomen from across the nation. This open air display area is located in the historic Denver Stock Yards adjacent to the Exchange Building. Here you will find Bull’s of almost every breed on exposition in unique and colorful display pens. Everything from Club Calf Herd Sires to outstanding Purebred Bulls can be found. Additionally Pure Bred Cattle Associations and Genetic companies have display tents where they present their Sires and Genetic services. Sprinkled in is a mix of other cattle industry related companies. To get on the list, contact the Livestock Office at 303.299.5559.

The Heifer Mart is an exciting marketing opportunity for cattle producers to take advantage of at the National Western Stock Show. Cattlemen can enter groups of 3 to 10 head of either heifer calves or bred yearlings. There is a designated area in the Yards just south of the Stock yard Arena set up for the Heifer Mart where these cattle are displayed on tie rails.  Night tie outs are also be provided. There is no show associated with these cattle. These females are on display with the intention of selling them by private treaty or for breeders to have an opportunity to display their breeding program as a part of their overall marketing program.

The National Western believes that there are many breeders of quality pure bred and cross cattle that wish to exhibit and sell females in Denver without the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the show ring. Additionally there are many livestock enthusiasts that attend NWSS each year that want to buy females either in groups or individuals. The Heifer Mart provides the Forum for displaying a breeders program as well as the opportunity for buyers to view groups of cattle from breeders they may not have had the chance to personally visit in the past.

Similar to the NWSS Herd Sire displays, reservations for a spot in the Heifer Mart will be on a first come first serve basis made by contacting the NWSS Livestock Office. The Heifer Mart will accommodate cattle by breed during the same time periods that each respective breed arrives and is released from the Yards. If the breed you have interest in does not have a pen show we will use the arrival/release dates for the time that particular breed is on the Hill. These schedules can either be found in the Premium Book or online at in the Livestock section of the webpage.

To learn more about the NW Collegiate Judging Contest or to register, [Click Here]
The National Western Stock Show & Rodeo’s (NWSS) top priority has always been public safety.
National Western Stock Show has taken a proactive approach to public safety, implementing a comprehensive public safety action plan, created with input from state and local health departments.The NWSS partners with our patrons to maintain a sanitary, healthy environment, and we strongly encourage our guests to read and follow our educational materials, safety tips and follow posted signs. Please keep in mind that the safety of all patrons, particularly children, is a shared responsibility.Your health and safety is important to us. Thank you for supporting the National Western Stock Show.National Western Stock Show, Rodeo & Horse Show — Animal Care and Use Policy:
The National Western Stock Show has established the “Animal Care and Use Committee” whose mission is to address issues of animal care including the overseeing of an animal activity survey and to address all expressions of concern for animal care from the public, exhibitors and the National Western staff. The committee members include Chairman, Dr. Keith Roehr, Dr. G. Marvin Beeman, Dr. Wes Metzler, Dr. Bernie Rollin, Dr Gary Carpenter, Dr. Mike Scott, Binion Cervi, and Chuck Sylvester.

The National Western supports animal welfare principles which seek to improve the treatment and well-being of animals. Supporting animal welfare means believing humans have the right to use animals. Along with that right comes the responsibility to provide proper and humane care and treatment. Every animal participating in the activities of the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo, and Horse Show shall at all times be provided proper care and management. The care custody and control of the animals brought to the National Western Stock Show is the responsibility of the exhibitor. To ensure this policy, the Animal Care and Use Committee by way of the Volunteer Survey Group shall monitor and document any animal Health and Welfare issues of concern on the grounds of the National Western Stock Show during the show, with emphases on proper care and treatment.

In the event there is an animal welfare issue, the witness should immediately contact a National Western Stock Show representative, who will followed a prescribed course of action.

Of the thousands of junior market animals that compete at the National Western Stock Show each year, only 90 of the very best are at the exciting Auction of Junior Livestock Champions. This event is held every January during Stock Show in the Beef Palace Auction Arena.