Downtown lowdown – 33rd Annual Hoedown Kicks Off Wrangler NFR Action

Oct 1, 2019

Downtown lowdown – 33rd Annual Hoedown Kicks Off Wrangler NFR Action

Downtown lowdown – 33rd Annual Hoedown Kicks Off Wrangler NFR Action

Here we go with guideblog number two, and this time my Hurly hot spots are located throughout the fast-evolving, unique and exciting Downtown Las Vegas, where resorts and tourist attractions roll out the VIP dirt carpet for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo each December.

It’s time to get down with the Downtown Hoedown

For the last 30+ years, the Downtown Hoedown at Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas has officially kicked off the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Live music from the Fremont Street Experience stages, food and drinks, and much more makes the Downtown Hoedown a must-attend for country & Western aficionados.

DowntownThis year’s rendition—the 33rd annual—is Dec. 4 starting at 4:30 p.m. with five free concerts. The Hoedown not only kicks off the 10 days and nights of the Wrangler NFR in style, but signals the beginning of 12 nights of country music at Fremont Street Experience, one of Las Vegas’ top attractions. The official announcement of the concert acts is Oct. 8 so check the website for more details.

The Fremont Street Experience is a five-block extravaganza of Las Vegas entertainment and features the $32 million Viva Vision, the world’s largest video screen at 1,500 feet long, 90 feet wide and is suspended 90 feet above the pedestrian mall below. The screen has 12.5 million LED lights and a 550,000-watt sound system.

Four downtown hotels welcome cowboys and cowgirls throughout the Wrangler NFR, and combined hold dozens of events, concerts, viewing parties and other special events during the 10 days Vegas goes country. Read on for some highlights.

Grand Times at the Golden Nugget

Viewing parties featuring the live in-arena feed will be held in the Grand Events Center at the Golden Nugget nightly Dec. 5-13 and doors open at 6 p.m. The viewing party on the 14th will be in the Golden Nugget Showroom.

A special barrel racers autograph session is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6 from noon – 2 p.m. in the Grand Foyer with racers still to be determined based on final qualifiers for the Wrangler NFR.

The Golden Nugget Showroom features all country, all the time beginning Dec. 5 with Terri Clark, the first Canadian woman to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. Her hits include: “Better Things To Do,” “When Boy Meets Girl,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” “I Just Wanna Be Mad,” and “I Wanna Do It All.”

Other big-time stars throughout the NFR include Charlie Daniels Band, Ronnie Milsap, Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan.

Golden Nugget Acts

Dec. 5 – Terri Clark
Dec. 6 – Clary Walker
Dec. 7 – John Michael Montgomery
Dec. 8 – Charlie Daniels Band
Dec. 9 – Ronni Milsap
Dec. 10 – Tracy Lawrence
Dec. 11 – Pam Tillis and Lori Morgan
Dec. 12 – Ray Wylie Hubbard
Dec. 13 – Jamey Johnson

A place to be is The D (and Golden Gate)

The D has embraced the Wrangler NFR and their fans as much as any resort in Las Vegas, so much so that maybe owner Derek Stevens should think about changed the resort’s name during rodeo time to “The C” – for cowboys and cowgirls …

TheD“There is a certain authenticity about Downtown Las Vegas that matches up well with the Wrangler NFR fan, and it’s really something to see and experience,” says Stevens, who also owns the Golden Gate Casino and the under-construction Circa in downtown. “The first casino I purchased was the Golden Gate, and that’s an original Las Vegas building with an address of 1 Fremont Street. And now, right across the street, we’re building Circa, which is the very first ground-up resort and casino in Downtown in 50 years.

“Our block parties at the Downtown Events Center, one block off Fremont Street, attract thousands nightly. Fans can go to the Thomas & Mack Center one night and then the next night come Downtown and watch the NFR on our big screens during our free viewing parties. We create an exciting atmosphere with authentic food and drinks, and we love it when the cowboys and cowgirls come to town. I always urge any visitor to Las Vegas to make sure they visit us Downtown, because it’s something to see.”

Throughout “the C” and the Golden Gate, rodeo fans have opportunities at nearly every corner to partake in Wrangler NFR fun and games.

The award-winning Andiamo Steakhouse at “The C” will be offering a special, exclusive limited edition of only 200 Snake River Farms dry aged steak during rodeo week. All in it is $175 for the 36 oz. steak, an experience well worth it as Snake River Farms proprietary herd is one of the most highly regarded groups of American Wagyu cattle in the world. Reservations are being accepted now for this opportunity at 702-388-2400.

Club One members at both Golden Gate and The D–in separate drawings—have the opportunity to win an official 61st anniversary Wrangler NFR jacket during daily giveaways. Drawings are nightly throughout the NFR at 11 p.m. Rodeo fans can sign up anytime to become a member.

Arena Full of Fun at The Plaza

The Plaza has invested heavily to cater to country and Western fans and competitors, and is now the official host hotel of the Junior World Finals, which are held during Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center in conjunction with the Wrangler NFR.

The Plaza is home to the Core Arena, downtown’s only outdoor equestrian center and multipurpose event facility that features two outdoor arenas for roping practice and exercise during NFR. Also available are 200+ equine stalls, 24-hour security and veterinarian services provided by Outlaw Equine. Rodeo participants and enthusiasts can now “kiss their horses goodnight” and rodeo packages are available at the Plaza including stalls and rooms.

NFR-2019-_0016_McFarland-Productions-Core-Arena-2018-949-1024x599 - CORE ARENA PLAZABecause the Plaza is the NFR Junior World Finals host hotel, several youth-focused events will also take place including national qualifier competitions in roping and steer wrestling.

The Plaza Events

Family Friendly Rodeo for a Reason NFR Watch Party hosted by announcer Johnny Dudley

Dec. 5-14 – 6 p.m.

Rodeo Fashion and Western Arts Expo
Dec. 5-14 – 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Diamonds in the Desert horse sale
Dec. 12 – noon – 5:00 p.m.

Bull West Live Sale
Dec. 14 – 1 p.m.


Author: Brian “Hurly” Hurlburt

Brian “Hurly” Hurlburt has been covering the city that glitters, Las Vegas, from all the angles for 25 years, and is the editor and project manager for the NFR BLVD preview and NFR Rewind review magazines.