Later this morning, September 14, the City of Denver and management of the National Western Stock Show will announce that the event that's been held every January for more than a century will be postponed for a year, until 2022. The Western extravaganza had been scheduled for January 9 through January 24, 2021.
"While this is indeed sad news for all of us," the NWSS says in an announcement to members, "we doubt many will be shocked that the WSSA Board last Friday concluded that it would be too difficult and risky to make the Show happen in its entirety this year."
Meanwhile, construction is continuing on the expansion of the National Western Complex, which includes the new Legacy Building, Livestock Center and Equestrian Center. But the timeline on that project, too, will be revised.
Here's the announcement released at 11 a.m. at a press conference attended by Mayor Michael Hancock and NWSS President Paul Andrews:
DENVER, CO – The Western Stock Show Association (WSSA) Board of Directors together with the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) management, has made the difficult decision to postpone the 115th National Western Stock Show by one year and to resume the event in January 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic does not allow for the Stock Show to host the annual event and comply with the health and safety guidelines that are necessary to protect Coloradans and help stop the spread. More importantly, the projected environment through to the end of the year is too uncertain and therefore not reassuring enough to allow a traditional Stock Show to take place without potentially compromising the health and safety of exhibitors, visitors, and the public at large.
“The decision to postpone the 2021 Stock Show is incredibly difficult for our Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, business partners and the City and County of Denver,” stated Doug Jones, Chairman of the WSSA, “but the iconic western events and traditions we all know and love will be back in 2022, stronger than ever,” added Jones.
“Over the past several months, we reviewed and exhausted every option possible to host our event including a modified show with reduced capacity,” said Paul Andrews, President and CEO of the NWSS. “Ultimately, the health and safety of our guests, exhibitors, volunteers, and staff is of top priority and the NWSS and the City of Denver could not find a path forward to have the Stock Show and comply with the rules that govern gatherings of our size and rules of social distancing,” said Andrews.
Stock Show management made the early decision due to the intense planning and expenses that go into the NWSS. “We needed to make sure we announced early enough so all the livestock producers, contestants, competitors, and exhibitors do not incur time and cost they can’t recover,” stated Andrews, “and as an indoor event in the heart of winter, we had to consider the virus could be spread more easily indoors, potentially compromising the safety and health of thousands of people. The responsible decision was to postpone the show.”
Every January, the NWSS hosts the super bowl of livestock shows along with professional rodeo competitions and horse shows that are celebrated globally. The trade show is the largest western trade show in Colorado with nearly 900 booth spaces throughout the 90-acre grounds. The Stock Show draws over 700,000 attendees during the 16 days in January with record days seeing over 65,000 guests on site. The NWSS drives an economic impact of nearly 120 million dollars in January alone. The show supports 4-H and FFA partnerships that span more than a century and supports over 100 students annually studying in the fields of agriculture and rural medicine at dozens of colleges throughout Colorado and Wyoming. All of this as a non-profit 501(c)(3).
“We would like to thank our loyal stock show fans that are standing by us through this unprecedented time in history,” said Andrews. “We look forward to celebrating the return of Stock Show in 2022 with the grand opening of the historic Yards and Stockyards Event Center. Mark your calendars for January 8th through the 23rd, 2022,” said Andrews.
This story has been updated to include the press release.
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