Number Thirty Eight's Annual Bison Days Is Back for the National Western Stock Show | Westword
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Number Thirty Eight's Annual Bison Days Are Back for the National Western Stock Show

Just blocks from the National Western.
Bison Days runs from January 7 through January 22.
Bison Days runs from January 7 through January 22. James Wilcox
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Haleigh Watts grew up riding horses in Jefferson County and visiting the National Western Stock Show every year. So when she got a job working near the National Western Complex as Number Thirty Eight's national marketing director when the venue opened in October 2020, she had the perfect idea.

"I knew the Stock Show was right around the corner, and although we're not officially affiliated with the Stock Show, January is a time when country music and Western vibes kind of take over the city," Watts says. "I thought, 'How can Number Thirty Eight get involved?' We were still at the height of COVID going into 2021, and so a lot of the normal January staples weren't happening. I said, 'Okay, well, we have this great outdoor space, great indoor space. Why don't we throw our own country concert series?' Our two owners are also Denver natives, and all the big country music fans were immediately on board."

The free concert series showcasing local country bands was called Western Week when it debuted in January 2021, and although Number Thirty Eight was only able to admit 250 people, a quarter of its usual capacity, the shows were a big hit. "It evolved in 2022 to Bison Days, which is our updated iteration of the event," Watts says. "It's grown a lot."

This year's Bison Days, which runs from January 7, through January 22, will include free, quality local music — the Broncos' go-to for the national anthem, Kayla Ruby, is booked one night — mixed with ticketed events with national acts ($25), including Eric Paslay, Love & Theft and Trent Tomlinson (January 14); Craig Campbell, Canaan Smith and Cody Cozz (January 20); Double Wide (January 21) and Joe Nichols (January 22).

But music isn't the only thing on the menu for the twelve-day Western blowout. "We're kind of trying to provide an opportunity for people to choose their own adventure," says Watts. "A couple of new things this year is that we're going to have several different retail vendors popping up. We've got jewelry, we've got clothing. We've also partnered with a nonprofit called Country Kickup, which is a fundraising platform that's focused on providing awareness for charitable causes that they partner with, and they do this through teaching line and swing dancing." Line and swing dance classes will be free at Number Thirty Eight during Bison Days.

And Country Kickup isn't the only charitable partner this year. "The cherry on top, in my opinion, is that this year we partnered with the Western Sports Foundation," says Watts. "That's our official charitable organization of Bison Days; they're based in Pueblo. The Western Sports Foundation is a nonprofit that provides resources for Western sports athletes — so, everybody that you'll see at the rodeo this year — to thrive outside of the arena, with resources including access to experts in financial planning, nutrition, personal training, neurology, all of that stuff." One dollar of each sale from Number Thirty Eight's official Bison Days drink — a rodeo lemonade — will go to the Western Sports Foundation.

Watts expects a big turnout based on the past two successful years. "It's really fun to just see everybody come together and get excited about country music," she says. "And it's a great way to start the new year!"

Bison Days, Saturday, January 7, through Sunday, January 22, Number Thirty Eight, 3560 Chestnut Place, nmbr38.com.
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