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Wyoming Day at the National Western celebrates old traditions, new surprises

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Denver, Colo. – When it comes to taking part in the tradition of Wyoming Day at the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) in Denver, Colo., the experience provides something new every year, as new folks gather each year to celebrate the traditions that bind this experience, held this year on Jan. 20. 

Annually, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA) hosts a tour of NWSS on Wyoming Day, offering the chance for attendees to join in the fellowship of taking the journey together.

Trade show

At NWSS, like always, there was something for everyone in the trade show area via hay balers, horse trailers, food demonstrations, jewelry, western clothing and food vendor booths. 

The University of Wyoming (UW) was even more involved this year with their own exhibit area. Those who stopped by got the renowned “bucking horse” pins to proudly wear.  UW officials would also be showcased in a wagon pulled by draft horses later during the matinee rodeo.  

On the upper floor in the Expo Hall building, petting zoos and the interactive farming/ranching exhibits from Colorado State University continued to enthrall children and their parents.   

On the lower level of the Expo Hall, the tradition of cattlemen and women scurrying about to get their animals ready for showing and judging proved the future of farming and ranching is still promising.


The afternoon rodeo at the Denver Coliseum honoring Wyoming was attended by a near-sellout crowd. Miss Rodeo Wyoming rode out at the beginning of the rodeo carrying the National Western Stock Show flag.  

The tradition of honoring the state of Wyoming’s contribution to agriculture took center stage between the calf roping and saddle bronc riding events. 

First, a stagecoach circled the arena with Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead and WSGA President Dennis Sun riding atop. Wyoming’s First Lady Carol Mead and WSGA Executive Vice President Jim Magagna were among the passengers inside, along with the University of Wyoming’s Pepper Jo Six and Wyoming Business Alliance Executive Director Cindy Delancey. 

Magagna remarked about the importance of keeping the Wyoming Day festivities alive, saying, “It’s a very long tradition. Many, many years ago when Wyoming Day at NWSS came, the Wyoming Legislature, if they were in session, would adjourn for the day, and they’d all get on the train and go to Denver for NWSS.”

He continued, “Part of this event is tradition.  Part of it is the rodeo, important to our history – the cattle industry – so we like to keep those ties. And frankly, we like to come down to Colorado and show them how we Wyoming people are.” 

According to ag producer and current Executive Director of the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police (WASCOP) Byron Oedekoven, it’s the ranchers and farmers who “are the stewards of the land,” which adds flavor each Wyoming Day.  

He fulfilled his prime objective for the day, remarking, “I purposely set out to check out the livestock mineral vendors.”   

Diana Espy of Rawlins spoke of her day, saying, “It was a lot of fun.  I love to watch the mutton busting and got to see an arena record at the rodeo in calf roping. It was fun to see the show steers up close, too.” 

Look for details on 2019’s Wyoming Day tour at the National Western Stock Show in early January 2019.

Roy A. Barnes of Cheyenne wrote this article for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. Send comments on this article to

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