LAS VEGAS – The lore of the American Cowboy continues to reach into every aspect of today’s culture.
The MGM Grand Hotel & Casino recognizes it. More importantly, the MGM Grand notes how special it is that Last Vegas is the annual host to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. When cowboys come to town, the MGM Grand opens its arms for them. That’s why the resort is home to the greatest names in the sport and why it is such a major player in keeping the Wrangler NFR in the Nevada desert for years to come.
The culmination of the MGM Grand’s dedication to professional rodeo’s championship event is 10th Night, which will celebrate the crowning achievements of this year’s showcase. It’s an added benefit to the nightly happenings at the Gold Buckle Zone, and it’s a fitting tribute to cowboys from “The Home of The Champions.”
“MGM hosts the 10th Night, where cowboys come and receive their saddles and there’s a big concert from Lee Brice this year,” said Trevor Brazile, the 16-time all-around world champion from Decatur, Texas. “Tenth Night is going to be a spectacle at the MGM.”
Yes, it is. But the MGM Grand has planned and prepared for the NFR experience to be that way. The MGM Grand is the closest resort to the Thomas and Mack Center, which hosts the rodeo’s 10 nightly performances. It’s why Brazile and 17 other world champions – representing 80 gold buckles – make the MGM Grand their home. They’ll be joined by 20 other contestants who have qualified for the 2012 NFR.
The MGM Grand also is a host hotel for the NFR, marking its commitment to the championship event. That’s quite fitting.
“It’s just become the spot to be during the NFR,” Brazile said. “I think it’s the ‘The Home of Champions’ and everybody else at the NFR. The MGM has become the social event of the national finals.”
The NFR boasts of nightly crowds between 17,000-18,000 for each of the 10 go-rounds, but Las Vegas is home to tens of thousands of fans daily – they come to Vegas just to be part of the NFR experience. The NFR is simulcast live through various casinos, but none has quite the showcase of the MGM Grand, which will open doors to the Hollywood Theatre at 5:30 p.m. daily so rodeo fans can enjoy the live stadium feed for free while enjoying all the luxuries that come with the MGM Grand.
“They’ve had such a great collective effort in making it a great place during the NFR,” Brazile said. “It’s cowboy friendly. It is home to probably the best live remote NFR show there is in town at the Hollywood Theatre. That’s probably the second hardest ticket to get in town that week, other than getting into the Thomas & Mack.”
In addition, rodeo fans can enjoy the NRS Shopping Experience, which will feature a plethora of great Western clothes, accessories and other fabulous items – it is open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily in the Marquee Ballroom at the MGM Grand. The ever-expanding NFR experience was developed by Tim Kelly, the MGM Grand’s vice president.
“Partnering with the PRCA is another example of MGM Grand’s commitment to the Western lifestyle and the sport of ProRodeo,” Kelly said. “We look forward to providing the loyal PRCA members and fans a year-round home in Las Vegas.”
The contestants recognize that.
“Not only does the MGM promote rodeo, but they promote so many other venues, from boxing to the music awards,” said Lindsay Sears, the reigning and two-time world champion barrel racer from Nanton, Alberta. “There’s so much going on at the hotel, and there’s always a variety of things to do. That’s what’s so cool about the MGM.
“I think the MGM makes the contestants available and are promoting them through pictures all over the hotel, and that the fans get the chance to meet us. For me, I get the chance to say hi and personally meet them. The MGM provides a personal connection. The MGM promotes us like we are stars. That’s what rodeo needs, and that’s what rodeo is lacking. I want to meet every little girl that I can possibly meet, and the MGM gives us the opportunity to let that happen.”
NRS Shopping Experience 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Trevor Brazile World Championship Display MGM Grand Lobby
Million Dollar Cowboy Saloon featuring Gold Buckle Champions at Rouge opens 2 p.m.
Free Shuttle to NFR 5 p.m. Departs Gold Buckle Zone West Tower entrance
Free Wrangler NFR Stadium Live Feed Hollywood Theatre, 5:30 p.m.
Exclusive Genetics $1 million Bull Riding Contest Hollywood Theatre, 5:30 p.m.
Crown Royal Roper Gold Buckle Zone live music, dancing, performances 9 p.m.
NFR contestant arrivals Gold Buckle Zone 9 p.m.
Rodney Carrington in Hollywood Theatre, 10 p.m.
Cactus Saddlery nightly saddle drawing at Gold Buckle Zone, 11 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 7 – Miss Rodeo America Autograph Session 9:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. • Special appearance Lo Cash Cowboys 10 p.m. • Gypsy Soule Fashion show 11 p.m. all in Gold Buckle Zone
Saturday, Dec. 8 – Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show 12:30 p.m. Conference Center • Miss Rodeo America Autograph Session 9:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. • Lo Cash Cowboys 10 p.m. Gold Buckle Zone
Sunday, Dec. 9 – Elevation Sunday 11 a.m. Hollywood Theatre
Monday, Dec. 10 – Crown Royal Bull Riders Autograph Session 10 p.m. Gold Buckle Zone
Tuesday, Dec. 11 – MGM Grand Gold Buckle All-Star Autograph Session 2-4 p.m. Lobby with featuring our NFR Gold Buckle Champions including Trevor Brazile
Wednesday, Dec. 12 – Miss Rodeo America Coronation 9:30 a.m. Hollywood Theatre • Crown Royal Bull Riders Autograph Session 10 p.m. Gold Buckle Zone
Thursday, Dec. 13 – MGM Grand Gold Buckle All-Star Autograph Session 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Lobby featuring our NFR Gold Buckle Champions including Trevor Brazile
Friday, Dec. 14 – PRCA Tie Down Ropers Autograph Session Lobby noon-2 p.m. • Cowboy All Star Fan Salute After Party Gold Buckle Zone 9 p.m. • Gypsy Soule Fashion show 11 p.m. Gold Buckle Zone
Saturday, Dec. 15 – Trevor Brazile World Championship After Party Gold Buckle Zone 9 p.m. • Justin Cowboy Crises Check Presentation Gold Buckle Zone 10 p.m. • Free Lee Brice Concert 11p.m. Gold Buckle Zone • NRS Horse Trailer Giveaway 11 p.m. Gold Buckle Zone