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Expanded Cowboy Christmas hopes to draw more people this year

Updated December 6, 2023 - 7:10 pm

Cowboy Christmas is going to be bigger than ever as the gift show expands its square footage, and organizers hope the extra space will accommodate even larger crowds.

The Western-themed gift show runs during the National Finals Rodeo starting Thursday and continuing through Dec. 16. The retail space is open each day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The decision was made to still open the event on Thursday, despite the first go-round of the NFR, scheduled for Thursday night, being canceled after UNLV’s campus shooting on Wednesday.

Cowboy Christmas is expanding by about 300,000 square feet into both the South Hall and Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, bringing the total size of the show to roughly 700,000 square feet, said Bo Gardner, vice president of corporate marketing for Las Vegas Events, which organizes the gift show. Last year the event was only held in the South Hall.

“It’s time to grow and expand,” he said.

Cowboy Christmas attracted 280,000 visitors last year, and organizers expect as many as 300,000 people this year, Gardner said.

“With the additional space and parking space, we think it’ll be a better experience for our fans,” he added.

The expansion will accommodate several of the entertainment aspects of Cowboy Christmas, including rodeo events, live music and talk shows. Some of these include the Ariat Rodeo Live Stage with four shows a day, the Cowboy Channel Stage with daily fashion shows and other events and the Junior World Finals. More than 800 contestants compete in nine different rodeo events at the Junior World Finals for more than $1 million in cash and other prizes.

In addition to the entertainment offerings, there will be a Christmas village with daily appearances by Santa Claus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

More than 450 exhibitors will be at Cowboy Christmas showcasing their products that range from cowboy attire such as hats and boots to handmade jewelry as well as art, furniture and home goods.

Cowboy Christmas is free to attend. Daily tickets to the Junior World Finals are $10, and five-day passes, for Dec. 7-11 or Dec. 12-16, are $40.

With the expanded offerings of Cowboy Christmas, Gardner encourages people to maybe go two different days to see everything.

“Get there early because parking goes quick, or take other forms of transportation,” he said.

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com. Follow @seanhemmers34 on X.

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