Normally at this time in January, people would be kicking up their heels at the National Western Stock Show and connected country and cowboy bashes around the city. But the coronavirus pandemic put an end to the 2021 Stock Show — only the second to be canceled in 115 years (the first cancellation was over a century ago, during a hoof-and-mouth disease epidemic that affected animals, not people). Still, some of the folks behind the billion-dollar makeover of the National Western Complex determined that the show must go on, and produced a two-week Honoring the Legacy virtual celebration of the spirit of the National Western.
“We’re doing it because the Stock Show got canceled,” says Pete Coors, who's heading the Honoring the Legacy campaign. “We decided to do a series of virtual events to keep people from being lonely during the Stock Show. It was fun, and a lot of work to pull together.”
But then, his group is used to working hard. The Honoring the Legacy campaign is focused on raising $100 million for four core National Western facilities — the Legacy Building, a David Tryba-designed facility that will house a new, improved National Western Club that can hold 700; the Sue Anschutz-Rodgers Livestock Center; the Cille and Ron Williams Yards (Ron Williams was just named Citizen of the West, and will be honored in January 2022); and the Equestrian Center. And over the past few months, it also created the online Stock Show series.
"It's been crazy to put this together, all since October," says Coors. The lineup includes interviews (most of them conducted by Coors himself), happy hours, updates on the National Western project, the Junior Livestock Auction and music...lots of music.
After a marquee concert event on January 22 featuring Brooks & Dunn, Michael Martin Murphey, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jim Salestrom and more, the series will conclude on January 24 with a “Special Roundup From Pete Coors” and the rodeo finals replay.
The series is free to watch — just sign up at honoringthelegacycampaign.com, and you’ll get a link to that day’s entertainment emailed to you at 7:30 a.m. — but Coors wouldn’t mind if you made a donation. “It was designed as a fundraiser,” he notes...not that his group still needs much help. The Honoring the Legacy campaign's original goal was $50 million, but added expenses pushed the goal to $100 million — and the campaign has already raised $80 million.
As Coors sums it up: “Things are moving along."
See just how far at the 2022 National Western Stock Show next January. In person.
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