The stock show is back next month and Colorado State University is opening the first building of their new public-facing campus in Denver. For anyone who hasn’t been to the National Western campus lately, it’s in large part unrecognizable from only a few years ago: the stockyards have moved, new modern buildings tower above the 100-year old original structures, and even the railroad lines have moved, allowing visitors access to the river.
National Western Stock Show Rides In Jan. 8
“We’re 100% on,” explained Paul Andrews, President and CEO of National Western Stock Show, adding that the show “will change how America markets livestock.” Andrew’s excitement for the upgrades to the facilities is hard to overstate, though anyone who hasn’t spent time around stock shows may need a more background. For the first time, the livestock pens will have power as well as both hot and cold water. Previously, livestock owners had to haul in generators: preparing livestock for show means not only washing the animals, grooming involves blow dryers and any number of other small powered devices. As the long days start early, it also means a lot of coffee pots plugged in. While that may sound like a basic improvement, the upgrades in the new livestock pens are pretty unique, he explains – those amenities aren’t available at other stock show sites: no one (human or the animal) wants to be washing a bull in cold water when it’s below freezing outside.
Visitors to this year’s show can expect all the popular events: three nights of bull riding, 14 of the most elite horse shows, the pro rodeo, mutton bustin’, and, of course, vendors selling everything from belt buckles, hats, and saddles to outdoor heaters for your ranch (or in Denver, more likely your back patio or roof deck). Andrews also stressed the multicultural aspect of Denver’s stock show, which has both a Hispanic Heritage Day including a Mexican Rodeo, and the MLK Jr. African American Heritage Rodeo.
The stock show has an estimated $120 million economic impact on the Denver metro area, including money spent at local businesses such as hotels and restaurants.
The National Western Stock Show runs from Jan. 8 – 23. For more information including a full line up of events, visit NationalWestern.com.
Colorado State University Welcomes Community Members
CSU Spur is a public-facing educational three-part campus at National Western, opening in January. Sectioned into Vida, Terra, and Hydro, Spur is focused on animal and human health, food and agriculture, and water, respectively. The first facility, Vida, opens in January, with the other two planned for April and November.
Jocelyn Hittle, Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Spur Campus and Special Projects, talked with The Denver North Star to explain more about how the campus is open to the public. Hittle said some operating theaters are glass walled with audio setups, so visitors and students can not only watch but talk with techs and doctors who wear microphones during procedures. Visitors and aspiring veterinarians alike may find the equine therapy programs of interest, including submerged horse treadmills. On the more mundane side is a spaying and neutering clinic for household animals.
CSU is especially excited to be working with grade school students and plan on frequent field trips. Hittle said they are offering “experiences tailored to different grade levels over time” with an emphasis on 4th through 6th graders but noting students who are interested in veterinary fields could also return as high schoolers for an internship. Many of the exhibits are also fully bilingual in English and Spanish.
Hittle also stressed their community engagement, including vaccine and animal wellness clinics for residents of the community. CSU has been working with Focus Points Family Resource Center, the Dumb Friends League, and others. They also have a scholarship for students from the 80216 zip code. This year, four students will be receiving $10,000 scholarships if they choose to attend any CSU campus.
Spur is hosting three kickoff events, including a sneak peek for G.E.S. residents on Jan.6, a ribbon cutting on Jan. 7, and the family friends grand opening on Jan. 15. For more information on Spur, including the events, visit csuspur.org.
New stockyards and the Spur campus aren’t the only changes at National Western this year, though. The office of the National Western Center oversees the portions of campus that are currently under construction. Between the Center and CSU, 750 – 800 workers have been onsite some days making improvements. Exposed wastewater pipes, formerly both an eyesore and at times offensive to the nose, have been buried to give visitors access to the river. They will also be used to generate heat as part of National Western’s commitment to sustainability. Even the rail lines have been moved, which opens up the middle of the campus. Other upcoming (but not yet finished) changes include a bridge at 52nd Ave. across the river and additional walkways connecting to nearby communities. Tykus Holloway, the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of The National Western Center, summed it up. “What we’ve been focused on since 2018 is a lot of things you use, but you don’t see.”
While the stock show has some ticketed events, the vendor marketplace and many other events are free, as is accessing the campus as a whole. The Spur campus also features free options for the community.
Behind the scenes, there’s more going on though, with funding battles, community engagement disputes, and more. For an in-depth look at the politics of National Western, interviews with key players, and the fallout of the 2E bond’s failure last November.
CSU Spur Family-Friendly Grand Opening Jan. 15, noon – 6:30 pm 4710 National Western Drive, Denver
Bring your family and friends to the grand opening event of CSU Spur in Denver as part of CSU Day at the National Western Stock Show. CSU Spur is open to the public, year-round.For more information, visit csuspur.org/spur-events.