Monday, Nov. 29, 2010 | 9:35 a.m.
This is the week on the calendar when Sin City turns into Cowboy Country. Forget about being the Entertainment Capital of the World for 10 days because Las Vegas welcomes the National Finals Rodeo. That means 100,000-plus visitors in Wrangler denims, cowboy boots and wide-brimmed Stetsons. Even Senior Editor John Katsilometes has gotten into the spirit -- and fashions -- of all the excitement.
NFR gets underway officially Thursday, but first up today is the start of the Miss Rodeo America Pageant. The cowgirl beauties will display their skills today at the Equestrian Arena at the South Point. Admission is free to watch the glamour and grit. Registration and trade show exhibits get an early start this afternoon at the South Point, where tonight’s 3rd Annual Wrangler Gold Buckle Gala to benefit the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame also is being held.
Also tonight at the Mardi Gras Ballroom at The Orleans is the Cowgirl Kickoff Party of the Miss Rodeo America Pageant, with the lasso ladies encouraged to make a Denim Statement. Contributing photographer Tom Donoghue is shooting the pageant and also is a judge this year before he starts 10 consecutive nights of ringside coverage of the bucking bulls contests.
A warm welcome to all the bull riders, entertainers, comedians, singers and musicians, plus all the fans who are en route to Las Vegas to play from Thursday through Dec. 11. Every hotel on The Strip and downtown has the welcome mat out, and everything is set for the nightly bull-riding thrills and spills at the Thomas & Mack Center. Additionally, the Cowboy Christmas Gift Show takes over 300,000 square feet of our convention center, with 400-plus vendors from the U.S. and Canada showcasing western wear, jewelry, art and furniture.
We’ve got daily coverage planned here at Vegas DeLuxe, and we’ll post a preview Thursday as everybody settles in opening day. Meantime, keep your eyes peeled for such early arrivals as Trevor Brazile, nine-time world champion cowboy; Fred Whitfield, seven-time world champion tie-down roper; Billy Etbauer, five-time world champion saddle bronc rider; Will Lowe, three-time world champion bareback rider; Brittany Pozzi, defending world champion barrel racer who stole the spotlight at last year’s Las Vegas events; and Patrick Smith, world champion team roper.
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