The National Western Stock Show and Rodeo throws open the barn doors today for a two-week extravaganza showcasing bucking broncos, mutton bustin', barrel riding, bull riding, calf wrestling, Wild West shows and fancy roping. The usual fun exhibits (the Colorado Elk Breeders Association! Mechanical bulls!) will be there, along with shopping opportunities (Mr. Ed's Flag Pole Co.! Crystal Earth Lucky Pet Bamboo & Fishy Friends!) and people-watching unlike any other in the state.
Tickets for the annual rodeo can be pricey -- as high as $50 for prime seats -- but the National Western also offers a lower-cost alternative, an opportunity to tour the area, take in some events and perhaps learn a thing or two about this planet and the creatures that live on it. Admission to the grounds, which allows ticket-holders access to just about everything except the rodeo, is $2 or less for kids and $7 to $9 for adults. For that price, you can take in the Western art exhibit, visit the Children's Ranchland and petting zoo, watch cattle judging and horse-show classes and observe sheep being sheared or stock dogs working.
Grounds admission also includes free barn excursions, which are offered each afternoon. The 45-minute tours with agricultural professionals incorporate information about agricultural history and its future, as well as provide an opportunity to examine animals close up.
This year's Stock Show will also include a roundtable discussion of mad cow disease, with Senator Wayne Allard and representatives from Colorado State University and major beef-processing companies, among others. The discussion, which is free and open to the public, takes place in the Expo Hall's International Center at 4 p.m. January 13.
For event schedules and tickets, call 303-295-1660 or go to www.nationalwestern.com. -- Karen Bowers
A Matter of Choice
Pink Pages benefit keeps the holidays rolling
Celebrate choice and acceptance at tonight's Rocky Mountain Pink Pages Benefit, a black-tie fundraiser for the Center, Denver's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community center. Sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Pink Pages, a free biannual magazine for Colorado's gay community, the benefit will feature a gourmet five-course dinner and a silent auction at the homey Painted Bench, 400 East 20th Avenue. "It's going to be an evening of gaiety, laughter, great food and lots of networking," says Pink Pages spokeswoman Bobbie Larocque. "We figured we'd put one more oomph into the holidays before we sink into February blahs."
Tickets for the event, which begins at 6 p.m., are $100 per person and can be purchased in advance at 303-316-4688. The restaurant seats only 100, so be sure to get yours early. "Tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, so I'd recommend calling the office as soon as possible," says Larocque.
For more information on the Center, visit www.coloradoglbt.org. -- Julie Dunn