By Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media. Photos by Michelle Stevinson & Maria Stevinson, Latin Life Denver Media
The 118th National Western Stock Show is well underway with so much going on it is literally impossible to take it all in just in one day (schedule of events). More than 700,000 people are expected to attend with already more than 200,000 having attended in the first three days of the show that runs through January 21, 2024 at the Coliseum fairgrounds in northeast Denver, Colorado.
People from all 50 states and more than 30 countries will be in attendance contributing nearly $200 million to the Colorado economy. The entire 250 acres of fairgrounds is currently being converted into a year round attraction with more than $1 billion of that effort being used for new construction.
Having been born and raised in Denver, I have always considered myself to be a “city boy” but the National Western Stock Show always has a way of bringing out the the country in me. It is considered the Super Bowl of stock shows and after attending several times, it is easy to see why. I never tire of this event, attending several days each year.
One of the major attractions of the National Western Stock Show each year is The Mexican Rodeo Extravaganza. This production truly has it all, in one place, in one show. It’s an all in one rodeo experience. From mutton busting, to bull riding, bareback riding, the Westernaires trick riding and even matador bull fights.
It all starts off with both the American and Mexican National Anthems followed by the “Cala de Caballo” the traditional opening parade of a Chareada.
All in all, there are 25 distinct performances over the two hour extravaganza. Produced, directed and choreographed Jerry Diaz and Family this year’s extravaganza entertained two near capacity shows January 7, 2024. (see photo gallery below)
Then its the Charro bareback riding competition. Six Charros from Mexico and one from Denver compete while folklorico dancers and mariachis perform just behind the competition area.
Staci Diaz performed with Liberty horse in an amazing demonstration of animal and human communication.
The legendary “Westernaires” do their thing performing various and dangerous trick riding stunts while riding their horses at break neck speed.
Nicolas Diaz showed off his skills in Portuguese Horsemanship followed by always entertaining Mutton Bustin. Each young contestant received a trophy for their participation and bravery. (see photo gallery below)
The “Paso de la Muerte” horse switching demonstration proved to be harder than it looks thanks to the face-plant the rider received the first time around hitting the ground face first. He brushed himself off, got back on his horse and got it right the second time.
And if all that wasn’t enough, Bull Riding Charro Style took the stage, or grounds I should say. Four brave Charros dared to mount some not so friendly bulls for a championship competition.
Speaking of ‘bravery’ and maybe not a rodeo attraction per se, the Matadores de Mexico, Jorge Delijorge and Maria Pastor met a bull, that the announcers said, “had never seen a human before.” Well, the bull could have fooled me. It was after the two Matadors as if they were an arch enemy’s.
Ole! Ole! the near capacity crowd chanted as the bull consistently missed it’s target. One Matador even turned his back to the bull walking away, not looking back, taunting the bull even further. (see photo gallery below) The frustrated bull did not want to give up and refused to leave the arena. He had to be coaxed out by some very nervous handlers.
Then it was time for the producer and choreographer of the Mexican Rodeo Estravaganza 2024 to take his bows. Jerry Diaz along with his wife and son showed their mastery of horse training and riding before thanking everyone for attending. The extravaganza concluded with the Grand Finale, a colorful parade of all the horses, participants and dancers all serenaded by Mariachi Sol de Mi Tierra and finished of by the Mexican Hat Dance performed by the Folkloric Dancers.
This was the 29th year Jerry Diaz, a fourth-generation champion Charro, has presented this extravaganza in what has to be the best Mexican Rodeo show in the country. It is filled with cultural pageantry in a display of Mexican Heritage and History.
Looking forward to the 30th edition of this wonderful rodeo production that truly has it all and more.
Grounds admission is $22 for adults and $5 for children. There are also several ticketed events that require an additional charge. Petting Zoo is FREE, Kiddie Horse Rides $10 Funnel cakes are $14, Beer $14
Guests are encouraged to utilize the free parking available at Coors Field. The Coors Field lots open daily at 8 am, with complimentary shuttles ensuring a convenient 10-minute ride to the complex, dropping passengers off directly in front of the National Western Complex.
The 118th National Western Stock Show runs through January 21st. Grounds admission and event tickets can be purchased at nationalwestern.com.
While this is the 118th edition of the National Western Stock Show and features many of the same events and attractions year after year it never fails to impress and entertain. It never gets old. There is so much to see, so much to do and so much to experience on a daily basis that it is nearly impossible to take in a whole day’s program.
Photos by Maria Stevinson, Latin Life Denver Media