Dec 8, 2019
No ticket? No problem!
Over the past 35 years here in Las Vegas, one of the greatest developments with the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is the evolving viewing party scene around town. Fans can fully absorb all the action from the Thomas & Mack Center at dozens of such events, at hotels up and down the Strip and well beyond.
In other words: No ticket? No problem!
And it’s not just the viewing parties, it’s the after-parties too. From the rodeo takeover of the sports book at The Mirage – which hosts a free concert every night – to a bevy of post-go-round activities at The Orleans to country entertainers practically everywhere, you can always find somewhere to get your party on, no question.
But the South Point Showroom should definitely be on your bucket list. Along with the viewing party, the nightly go-round buckle presentation takes place there, followed by a live concert. The place is packed with raucous and friendly fans, as was the case on Friday night.
Karson Morgan and his crew from Nephi, Utah, did things the smart way, arriving well before the second go-round started. That way, they could grab a table close to the dance floor, with a perfect sightline of the stage, too, and be good to go all night long.
It was a veteran move, which comes as no surprise when you learn Morgan is attending his 13th NFR.
“You get everything in one here. We got the rodeo, the buckle presentation and the concert afterward,” said Morgan, joined by wife Linzy and friends Colby and Natalie Park. “Last night, we went to the rodeo. This is a great alternative.”
For Linzy, this particular viewing party site is not only entertaining, but sentimental.
“One of our first dates was coming to the NFR. It’s been a tradition ever since, our Christmas present to each other every year,” she said. “We’ve tried other parties, but we always come back to the South Point. Nothing compares to it. It’s second-best only to being at the rodeo, especially when you’re pockets are a little empty.”
Added Colby: “It’s the closest thing to being in the arena,” Colby said. “This is the atmosphere that the NFR is all about here in Vegas. And I don’t think any other city could provide that atmosphere.”
Even perfect strangers connect and have a great time together at these parties. Chance Hill of Glendive, Mont., and Gina Elmore of Kingman, Ariz., are scooting boots on the dance floor before the buckle presentation begins, looking like dance partners of years. Not so.
“We don’t know each other. We just met,” Hill said. “I wanted to dance, she wanted to dance.”
Indeed, when you’re at the Wrangler NFR, you’re always among friends – even those whom you just met. Natalie Park may have summed it up best.
“The atmosphere is great,” she said. “Lots of energy, good friends and great memories. That’s what the NFR is all about!”