Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Las Vegas Week - Overview

OK, OK......I know that it's been weeks since we came back from Las Vegas and I haven't posted anything about the trip on my blog, but truly, with all that's been going on (my back, the gas leak, Christmas, etc.) I haven't taken the time to write it all down.

Now that I've written about my back and the fact that I can't ride for weeks yet I guess it's time I wrote about Vegas!

It was EVERYTHING I'd hoped it would be, and MORE!!!!

I can't begin to thank Sharon and Bill enough for inviting us to join them.  I'm hooked.  And so is Ken!  (They might need to start thinking up an excuse if they want to keep us from joining them next year.)

My rodeo experience prior to this was going to the Grand National Rodeo at the Cow Palace every year with my parents while I was growing up.  I will always remember dragging my parents through the barns looking at all the beautiful Arabian horses that were part of the show and watching all the different rodeo events after drooling over countless horses.

Fast forward to December 6-10, 2011 and the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.  

The package deal Sharon got us through NRS was amazing.  It included a suite at the MGM, transportation to the rodeo each night, VIP access to a bunch of things and awesome seats at the Rodeo for every night we were there. 

I'll describe a typical day.

We'd get up and meet for breakfast at one of a number of different eateries at the MGM.  After eating we'd head to one of the many shopping locations and spend hours walking the isles looking at an unbelievable volume of rodeo and horse related vendors.  We'd reach some level of mutual exhaustion (meaning, when the men finally had enough the women would stop shopping) and head back to the MGM.  We'd drop off our many shopping bags, change into rodeo attire (bling) and head out to dinner at about  3:30pm.  (We learned after the first day that we needed to eat BEFORE we were actually AT the rodeo or we'd be eating concession food - hot dog/pretzel - for dinner)  After dinner we would walk directly to the West Wing of the MGM to pick up the shuttle (full size buses) that took us to the Thomas & Mack Center (where UNLV plays Basketball, I'm told).

Our first night at the NFR

Sharon and Bill
There was a great "tailgaiting" experience in the parking lot.  A big tent with a bar & DJ (with girls dancing on the bar - no, NOT us!) and mechanical bull riding. (no, we didn't, either.)  A small arena for demonstrations.  The outdoor GAC television studio where they were recording the "Inside the NFR" shows. (Yes, Sharon and I were in the audience, just visible on camera.) And shopping. (yes, everywhere we went there was shopping.)

About 20 minutes before the rodeo started we would go inside to our seats.

We were always there in time for the National Anthem.

Did I mention they were awesome seats?  Smack in the middle of the arena, about 20 rows up.  Fabulous view of every event.  They'd start with Bareback Bronc Riding and end with Bull Riding.  In between those were Steer Wrestling, Team Roping, Saddle Bronc Riding, Calf Roping and Barrel Racing.  

Bareback Bronc Riding

Sharon and Bill were both very patient with Ken and me because I know we pestered them a lot asking questions.  But by next year I will have done a lot more homework so I'll know who's who and what more of the rules are.   I promise!

Bull Riding

When the rodeo finished we'd race-walk back to the shuttle (sound advice given by a friendly Cowboy (that's redundant, isn't it?) we met at the beginning of our first night) and ride it back to the MGM where we'd join the party at the Gold Buckle Zone in the MGM.  We'd have fun there for a couple hours and would eventually go to our rooms before starting it all over again the next day.

We did some variation of that schedule each day, except for Thursday the 8th.


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