Welcome to the NW Livestock Shows

The National Western Stock Show is considered the Super Bowl of Livestock Shows as one of the World’s Largest Cattle Shows!

The National Western Stock Show hosts nearly 20 breeds of cattle during its 16-day run.

Visitors are able to view traditional competition among exhibitors of breeding animals ultimately used for seedstock in agricultural production (beef cattle, sheep and goats). National Western also offers competition among exhibitors of animals used primarily for recreation or companionship (llamas, alpacas, poultry and dogs). Viewing these events is all part of the Stock Show experience and can be done with a grounds admission ticket.

Youth involvement is one of the highlights of the livestock shows. Young exhibitors from across the nation participate in our competitive arenas for prize monies, national recognition for their achievements and a chance at college scholarships.

Each year, hundreds of young agriculturists from across the country converge on Denver with their prize stock in tow. These youth between the ages of 9 and 18 spend thousands of hours over a period of months feeding, grooming and preparing their animals to compete in one of the largest youth exhibitions in the nation. Many of these youths also attend school, participate in 4-H and FFA chapters and compete in a number of other extracurricular activities concurrently.

What is their reward? National Western junior livestock exhibitors have the opportunity to win prize money, trailers, scholarships and awards. Additionally, 90 of the best animals qualify for the Auction of Junior Livestock Champions, where a winning animal could sell for more than $100,000.

The National Western hosts junior market livestock competitions for steers, lambs, swine and goats in the market-ready classifications. There are also competitions for breeding heifers and ewe lambs, as well.

Additional special youth programs include the 4-H Catch-A-Calf, Premier Exhibitor and Carcass competitions. The llama show, alpacas show, sheep lead competition and wool show also include youth divisions.

The youth programs at the National Western Stock Show not only are a vital part of our success, but also are a large part of the mission put forth in the National Western Charter.


The Livestock department processes in excess of 20,000 entries for each years National Western Stock Show. Known as the “Superbowl” of Livestock Events, exhibitors bring their livestock from all over the United States and Canada. Livestock producers and educators come from all over the world to view and buy the best livestock on earth!

Livestock exhibited at the National Western include more than 20 breeds of beef cattle along with bison, yaks and longhorns, sheep, hogs, goats, poultry, llamas and alpacas. Stock dog herding competitions are also held. Along with the many events in the main Hall and Stadium Arena, known as the “Hill”, the historic Denver Stock Yards is home to multiple cattle shows that include pens and carloads of cattle in competition.

The “Yards” is the only event of its kind in North America and is a Mecca of activity for the livestock industry. Held in the brisk open air of Denver in January the “Yards” is also home to many cattle sales where the best are auctioned off to the highest bidders. Producers display their livestock in the pens just as they have for decades at the National Western Stock Show.

The specialty shows during Stock Show are not to be missed! Check out all these specialty breeds you can find during January.

BISON  –Bison  The 2018 Gold Trophy Bison Show and Sale (judging on January 19, 2018 and sale on January 20, 2018) is sanctioned by the National Bison Association and is the only bison show of this type in the world.

Although commonly called buffalo, the American Bison is not a true buffalo. Its closest relatives are the European Bison (Wisent) and the Canadian Woods Bison, not the buffalo of Asia or Africa, such as the Cape Buffalo or Water Buffalo.

Bison were the center of life for the Plains Indians, providing them with food, clothing, shelter, and spiritual aspirations.

Open Goat 2GOAT – The Boer goat was developed in South Africa as a breed meant for meat production. The term “Boer” refers to the descendants of the Dutch immigrants, most of them farmers, who settled the country; thus, Boer goat simply means “farmers’ goat.” Because of the intense selective breeding over the past 50 years or more by South African goat breeders, the Boer goat is considered far superior to any other goat for meat production. It is known for rapid weight gain, heavy muscling and high fertility.

Because the Boer was selectively improved for its meat production ability and its ability to pass on that trait to its offspring, along with other traits including pasture hardiness, the addition of a Boer buck to a commercial meat goat herd can improve the meat characteristics of the offspring without making them too soft to be pasture grazed. The National Western’s Boer Goat Show is January 10, 2018 at 2 p.m. on the lower level of the Stadium Hall.

A junior meat goat show is January 10, 2018 at 9 a.m. in the lower Stadium Hall.

LlamaLLAMAS – along with alpacas, guanacos and vicunas, are members of the camel family and originated on the central plains of North America about 10 million years ago. They were domesticated in the Andean highlands of Peru more than 5,000 years ago.

Contemporary North American llamas are bred and raised for packing, wool production, cart pulling, animal-facilitated therapy, companion animals, exhibitions, guardians of other livestock, such as sheep and, increasingly, as FFA and 4-H projects.

Grease-free and lightweight, llama wool is warm and luxurious. A valuable commodity sought by fiber artists, such as weavers and spinners, the wool is a marketable product for llama owners.

The llama show at the National Western is one of the oldest and largest in North America. Be sure to attend An Afternoon with Llama and Alpaca on January 6, 2018 at  2:00 p.m. where you can interact face-to-face with the llamas, alpacas and exhibitors. The llama show is on January 6, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. and on January 7, 2018 at 2 p.m. in the Stadium Arena.

AlpacasALPACAS – are America’s newest entry into the livestock industry. The initial animals were imported from 1984 until 1997 when the government closed the quarantine facility in Key West, FL. Since that time the industry has flourished and now approximates 160,000 in the US.

There are two alpaca breed types: the suri and the huacaya. The main difference between the two is their fleece production. The huacaya fleece has waviness or “crimp,” which gives huacayas their fluffy, teddy-bear like appearance. Suri fleece has little or no crimp, so the individual fiber strands cling to themselves and hang down from the body in beautiful pencil locks.

Alpaca breeders come from many walks of life. Increasingly, alpacas are becoming an important source of income for many people. Entire families are often full time breeders.

Virtually every alpaca is registered through DNA blood tests providing the lineage and their country of origin. Alpacas offer an outstanding choice for livestock ownership. They have long been known as the aristocrat of all ranch animals. Most of all, alpacas have a charismatic manner, they do very well on small acreage, and they produce a luxury product which is in high demand.

Shouldn’t you consider alpacas as part of your livestock future?

Be sure to attend An Afternoon with Llama and Alpaca on January 6, 2018 at  2:00 p.m. where you can interact face-to-face with the llamas, alpacas and exhibitors. The Alpaca show starts Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. and will resume Sunday, January 7, 2018 at 2:00pm in the historical Stadium Arena.

Poultry-4POULTRY – A popular National Western exhibit for visitors of all ages, poultry and rabbit display is located on the third floor of the Expo Hall. More than 50 cages of each species of these small farm animals are on exhibit for the duration of the show.

Poultry is a major food product worldwide. The fowl display includes chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and other feathered animals such as pheasants, quail and guineas. The show takes place January 20, 2018 at 9 a.m. in the lower level of the Stadium Hall.

Open Sheep - woolySHEEP – From wool shows and sheep lead contests to breeding sheep exhibitions, the National Western Stock Show offers a variety of events to showcase one of the largest segments of the western livestock industry.

Known for their ability to graze in poor conditions, sheep are popular with farmers in the arid, almost desert-like, climates of the western United States. In addition to producing two marketable products, meat and wool, they also are raised with a lower overhead budget than most cattle.

A standard at the National Western Stock Show since it first years, sheep and wool events continue to make up a major segment of the West’s premier livestock exhibition.

The 2017 National Western breeding sheep show features nine popular wool and meat breeds exhibiting their best quality stock of rams, ewes and lambs.

Columbia, Corriedale and Rambouillet breeds show January 20, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. while Southdown, Dorset, Hampshire and Suffolk breeds exhibit January 21, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. Also included in the sheep competition are Natural Colored Sheep and White Hand-Spinning Sheep, which are judged both on conformation and wool January 21, 2018.

The sheep lead contest, where a sheep and its exhibitor are judged on appearance, is January 20, 2018 at 6:30 p.m.

There will be a daily sheep shearing demo on the lower level of the Stadium Hall.

Stock DogDOG – From backyard pets to a cowman’s top assistant, dogs are man’s best friend. And, the National Western Stock Show takes pride in highlighting the relationship between these amazing animals and their human counterparts.

National Western’s dog pulls, agility games and stock dog trials are continually some of the show’s most popular events.

In 2017, we will be offering our 9th Annual Stock Dog Sale. Preview of the Stock Dogs will be available in the Stockyards on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. and again at 1:00 p.m. The Sale will be Saturday, January 20, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. in the Stockyards.

The Dog Pull is held January 13, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the Stadium Arena. A dog weight pull is a sporting event that consists of dogs pulling a cart on wheels a distance of 16 feet within one minute. Dogs are hooked up in a specially designed harness, which disperses the weight evenly.

petsmart-epsDog Fly Ball Games are scheduled for January 19, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Stock dog cattle and sheep competitions begin January 19, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. Finals in the cattle competition will be held January 20, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. All cattle competitions are held in the Stockyards.

The Open Sheep competition for stock dogs begins January 20, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. in Stadium Arena. The Intermediate Sheep stock dog competition is January 21, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. in Stadium Arena.

– As part of the National Western junior livestock competition, more than 500 market hogs from across the nation come to Denver to be shown by youth aged 9 to 18. The swine are judged on conformation, correctness of form and muscling.

The junior market swine show is one of the highlights of the National Western Stock Show. Young exhibitors from around the U.S. participate in our competitive arenas for prize money, national recognition for their achievement and a chance at college scholarships.

The 2018 Junior Market Swine show begins with the showmanship competition on Tuesday, January 16 at 4:00 p.m. followed by the market show the following day on Wednesday, January 17 at 9:00 a.m. in the lower level of the Stadium Hall.

For junior swine updates, visit the junior livestock updates section.

YAK – Originally from the Himalayan Mountains, and a center point of the Tibetan culture, yaks were first introduced to North America in the early 1900s. Both a beast of burden and spiritual focus in their native land, yaks have been raised here for their beauty and intelligence, and as a source of fine fiber and lean meat..

For more information on yaks, visit the International Yak Association’s Web site at www.iyak.org.

Yak activities at the National Western in the stockyards (Yards) and the Stockyards Arena include:
Yak Pen Show – January 18, 2018 – 2 p.m. in the Stockyards Arena.
Yak Halter Show – January 20, 2018 – 12 p.m. in the Stockyards Arena.

The Herd Sire Display Area is a huge attraction for cattlemen and cattlewomen from around the world. This open-air display area made up of over 250 pens is located in the historic Denver Stock Yards adjacent to the Exchange Building. For four days in January during the National Western Stock Show, registered purebred and club calf herd sire bulls are put on display in colorful & unique pens. Additionally, several purebred cattle associations, online sales companies, semen distributers and feed and genetic companies have display tents where they’re able to network with producers. The Herd Sire Display Bull Weekend is a one-of-a-kind event that offers marketing opportunities to a unique niche of the cattle industry. A display area at this caliber can’t be found at any other show in the world.

Given that the Herd Sire Display area pens are consistently sold-out, there is a plethora of positive feedback every year. Most all bull owners and company managers who have displays appreciate the fact that it attracts large numbers of the people within the niche market they do business in. Not only does it provide a great environment of networking between companies and exhibitors, it’s also an opportunity for the bull owners to make a debut of the up and coming and proven herd sires they’re trying to sell semen on.

The Herd Sire Display Area is a valuable and unique piece to the National Western Stock Show. With the expansion of the National Western soon to come, we hope to see this area expand to over 300 pens. Considering the caliber this event is at today, the National Western hopes to see the amount of networking, promotion and growth within the bull industry grow to something that’s never been seen before.

A display area at this caliber can’t be found at any other show in the world. This area is open from January 11-14, 2018. There is usually a waiting list for this outstanding marketing event. To get on the list, contact the Livestock Office at 303.299.5559.

The Heifer Mart is an exciting marketing opportunity for cattle producers to take advantage of at the National Western Stock Show. Cattlemen can enter groups of 3 to 10 head of either heifer calves or bred yearlings. There is a designated area in the Yards just south of the Stock yard Arena set up for the Heifer Mart where these cattle are displayed on tie rails.  Night tie outs are also be provided. There is no show associated with these cattle. These females are on display with the intention of selling them by private treaty or for breeders to have an opportunity to display their breeding program as a part of their overall marketing program.

The National Western believes that there are many breeders of quality pure bred and cross cattle that wish to exhibit and sell females in Denver without the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the show ring. Additionally there are many livestock enthusiasts that attend NWSS each year that want to buy females either in groups or individuals. The Heifer Mart provides the Forum for displaying a breeders program as well as the opportunity for buyers to view groups of cattle from breeders they may not have had the chance to personally visit in the past.

Similar to the NWSS Herd Sire displays, reservations for a spot in the Heifer Mart will be on a first come first serve basis made by contacting the NWSS Livestock Office. The Heifer Mart will accommodate cattle by breed during the same time periods that each respective breed arrives and is released from the Yards. If the breed you have interest in does not have a pen show we will use the arrival/release dates for the time that particular breed is on the Hill. These schedules can either be found in the Premium Book or online at www.nationalwestern.com in the Livestock section of the webpage.

Entry fees will be $100 per head payable at time of entry. Pedigree, breeding and other pertinent information will be due at time of entry. Exhibitors will be responsible for their own bedding to be purchased through the NWSS Feed and Bedding Supply office in the Yards. For more information please contact the NWSS Livestock office at 303.299.5559.

To learn more about the NW Collegiate Judging Contest or to register, [Click Here]
For more information about the 4-H/FFA Livestock Judging Contest [Click Here]

Judging Contest News:
The Ultimate Test: the National Western Stock Show’s Wool Judging Contest [Click Here]

Livestock Judging Contest tab

The National Western Stock Show & Rodeo’s (NWSS) top priority has always been public safety.
National Western Stock Show has taken a proactive approach to public safety, implementing a comprehensive public safety action plan, created with input from state and local health departments.
The NWSS partners with our patrons to maintain a sanitary, healthy environment, and we strongly encourage our guests to read and follow our educational materials, safety tips and follow posted signs. Please keep in mind that the safety of all patrons, particularly children, is a shared responsibility.
Your health and safety is important to us. Thank you for supporting the National Western Stock Show.

National Western Stock Show, Rodeo & Horse Show — Animal Care and Use Policy:
The National Western Stock Show has established the “Animal Care and Use Committee” whose mission is to address issues of animal care including the overseeing of an animal activity survey and to address all expressions of concern for animal care from the public, exhibitors and the National Western staff.
The committee members include:
Chairman, Dr. Keith Rohr – State Veterinarian
Dr. G. Marvin Beeman
Dr. Wes Metzler
Dr. Bernie Rollin
Dr Gary Carpenter
Dr. Mike Scott
Binion Cervi
Chuck Sylvester

The National Western supports animal welfare principles which seek to improve the treatment and well-being of animals. Supporting animal welfare means believing humans have the right to use animals. Along with that right comes the responsibility to provide proper and humane care and treatment. Every animal participating in the activities of the National Western Stock Show, Rodeo, and Horse Show shall at all times be provided proper care and management. The care custody and control of the animals brought to the National Western Stock Show is the responsibility of the exhibitor. To ensure this policy, the Animal Care and Use Committee by way of the Volunteer Survey Group shall monitor and document any animal Health and Welfare issues of concern on the grounds of the National Western Stock Show during the show, with emphases on proper care and treatment.
In the event there is an animal welfare issue, the witness should immediately contact a National Western Stock Show representative, who will followed a prescribed course of action.

Of the thousands of junior market animals that compete at the National Western Stock Show each year, only 90 of the very best are at the exciting Auction of Junior Livestock Champions. This event is held every January during Stock Show in the Beef Palace Auction Arena.

[Click Here] for more info


JUSTIN CUMMING, Executive Livestock
MARSHALL ERNST, Specialty Show
DR. KEITH ROEHR, Animal Care & Use
BEN DUKE III, Catch-A-Calf

Special Livestock Committees


Justin Cumming, Chairman
Mark Anderson
Randy Blach
Thomas H. Bradbury
Joey Freund
Corinne Hummel
Guy McEndaffer
Donald K. Norgren



Mark Anderson, Chairman
David R. Ames
Thomas H. Bradbury
Joey Freund
Jim Gies
Mark Hodgson
Brett Kaysen
Steve LeValley
Luke Lind
Duane Yearous[/column]


Corinne Hummel, Chairman
Mark Anderson
Brett Bauman
Mark Beauprez
Judi Blum
Thomas H. Bradbury
Lew Cox
Ben Duke, III
Marlin Eisenach
Mark Hodgson
Larry Hooker
Steve LeValley
Luke Lind
Guy McEndaffer
Richard Maxcy
Donald K. Norgren
Kenton Ochsner, State FFA
Michael Pugh
Mike Schwab
Dr. Lori Scott
Dr. Mike Scott
Mark Trostel


Ben Duke, III, Chairman
Jo Adams
Tom Fey
Scott Johnson
Amy Kelley
Carolyn Neely
Donald K. Norgren
Tim Roberts
Pat Shaw
Bill Waneka


Marshall Ernst, Chairman
Marlin Eisenach
Tim Gifford
Judy Glaser
Mark Henderson
Larry Hooker
Mike Monell
Keith Padget
Erin Post
Bob Sencenbaugh
Brenda Strong
Kim Taha
Tonia Tamurini
Travis Taylor


Ben Rogers, Chairman
Glenn Benjamin
Thomas H. Bradbury
Blaine Evans
Terry Fankhauser
Joey Freund
Jim Gies
Bill Hammerich
Dave McGraw
Kenny Rogers
Alan Sears
Jerry Sidwell
Rick Wahlert
Duane Yearous


Dr. Keith Roehr, Chairman
Dr. G. Marvin Beeman
Dr. Gary Carpenter
Dr. Bernie Rollin
Dr. Mike Scott
Binion Cervi
Chuck Sylvester



Livestock Show Results
Livestock Sale Results
Collegiate Livestock Judging Contest Results

Catch-A-Calf Contest

This program is designed so successful participants catch a calf, feed it, and return with the animal one year later as a market steer.

Want to learn more? [Click here]