Each January, the National Western Stock Show & Rodeo hosts the largest event of its kind on the planet, featuring rodeos, horse shows, livestock competitions and auctions.

Here are some interesting facts every visitor should know.

8 seconds

It might seem like an eternity to a bull rider, but there’s a reason why rodeo professionals settled on 8 seconds before the buzzer goes off. The ability of a bucking horse or bull significantly decreases after 8 seconds because of fatigue and adrenaline loss. The time limit was established to keep the animals’ spirits high and help them compete at the highest levels throughout their careers.

Just kidding

Baby goats are known as kids. When female goats give birth, it’s known as kidding.

Boss of the Plains

The first cowboy hat to become wildly popular in America was the "Boss of the Plains" created by John B. Stetson in 1865. Stetson remains one of the most iconic brands.

Mules giving birth

A mule is the sterile offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. But in rare cases, some female mules are able to give birth. There have been around 60 cases of mule foals recorded since 1527.

Travel like a bull

PBR (Professional Bull Riders) bulls travel with more luxuries than most of the cowboys who show up to ride them. The bulls that perform at NWSS events arrive in trailers with air-ride suspension systems to reduce their risk of injury during transport. They also are only allowed to travel for a maximum of 10 hours per day. Once they reach that threshold, the rigs are required to pull over and let the animals rest for 12-14 hours.

Pig intelligence

A pig may be more intelligent than your dog. Pigs actually rank fourth in intelligence behind chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants.

See more rodeo for less

The excess entries at a rodeo are scheduled for a preliminary competition called the "slack." This usually takes place before the rodeo opens to the public, but at NWSS you can come inside the arena and watch the slack with just a grounds admission ticket!


Go behind the scenes with those who make the NWSS such a spectacular event.