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Free shuttle-bus service should ease congestion

The parking lot for the Thomas & Mack Center seems to shrink each year, with more of the pavement taken up by construction.

This year, Las Vegas Events, which puts on the 10-day National Finals Rodeo, will pick up the tab for shuttle-bus service to and from the Thomas & Mack throughout the event to entice rodeo fans to use public transportation.

The fare had been $5, but this year it is free. Various pick-up and drop-off points are on and near the Strip hotels and at downtown locations. One-way service from the Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center North Hall to the Thomas & Mack also is free.

Beginning today, buses will begin making runs at 4:45 p.m. on weekdays and 3:45 p.m. on weekends.

The rodeo begins at 6:45 p.m. on weekdays and 5:45 on weekends.

• EARLY ACTIVITIES– Fans arriving early at the Thomas & Mack can visit the free ProRodeo Zone interactive area set up outside the Cox Pavilion.

Ticket holders can enter the Cox Pavilion for the Cowboy Corral, which will feature live entertainment on the Academy of Country Music stage.

Doors to the Cowboy Corral open at 4:15 p.m. weekdays and 3:15 on weekends.

• MAD DASH — The Mad Dash 30 ticket program offers “find-a-seat” tickets in the balcony during the NFR for $39.50 apiece.

A Mad Dash ticket holder will have 30 minutes after the rodeo begins to either find an unused seat, remain to watch on closed-circuit monitors on the concourse or return to the ticket office for a full refund.

Call (866) 388-3267 for information.

• TICKET EXCHANGE — The NFR Ticket Exchange, located at the Las Vegas Convention Center during the Cowboy Christmas Gift Show, matches those wanting to sell tickets with buyers. Cost is face value plus a $2 handling fee per ticket.

Sellers can drop off tickets from 9-10 a.m. each day, and purchases can be made from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. today through Dec. 14.

Unauthorized resale of NFR tickets is prohibited, according to Las Vegas Events. Unauthorized selling, advertised selling, and/or attempted selling of NFR tickets is strictly prohibited and will result in loss of future ticket-buying privileges.

• COWBOY CHRISTMAS — The Cowboy Christmas Gift Show will again be held during the rodeo at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The show offers more than 300,000 square feet of display space for more than 400 exhibitors specializing in western products such as customized jewelry, clothing, boots and spurs, furniture, original art, handmade crafts and pottery, and NFR and PRCA merchandise.

Popular rodeo clown Flint Rasmussen will return as the host of “Outside the Barrel with Flint Rasmussen” each day at noon, with guests from rodeo country music featured.

• AFTER HOURS — The nightly NFR go-round gold buckle presentations begin at 11 p.m. and have moved to the South Point from the Gold Coast. The South Point is located at 9777 Las Vegas Boulevard South. …

A new “National Finals Tonight” show with Don Gay and Dan Miller starts at 11 p.m. after each go-round, taking place at the Gold Coast.

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