We dropped the kids off with Grandma and made the long drive to Las Vegas to meet up with several of our good friends. Together, we experienced what happens when tens of thousands of cowboys converge in one location. Las Vegas really does turn into cowboy central for ten days every December.
We had two main purposes for the weekend: The first was to attend round 3 of the NFR.
We arrived at the Thomas and Mack Center with swarms of other folks and took our seats for the most exciting rodeo I've ever attended. They leave no detail left undone, and the whole thing runs like clockwork.
Watching it on television all of these years just isn't the same as being there in person and smelling the dirt in the arena.
(I couldn't lug my Nikon around all night, so bear with me and the junky iPhone pics.)
During the opening ceremonies, Susie McEntire (Reba's sister) sang the national anthem. Afterward, there was a beautiful prayer said, and Rodney Atkins sang "Take a Back Road".
The action was non-stop all night! There were plenty of Arizona cowboys and cowgirls to cheer for. Two of the top team ropers come from around here, and one of them goes to our local community college...which is teeny tiny. Ha Ha. Also, I got to see (my friend and fellow blogger) Monica's cousin run barrels.
I have to say that watching the best of the best competing all together in one rodeo is about the most exciting thing I've seen in a while! Around here, there's a whole lot of "no score" and "no time" and " no catch" announced in the rodeo arena. Not at the NFR.
After the rodeo, we went with our friends to hear one of the best country bands I've ever listened to, and my hubby twirled me around the dance floor. It felt like we were on a date back in college.
The second purpose for going to Vegas was to attend the famous "Cowboy Christmas" sale. It encompasses not one, but TWO convention centers. With over 800 vendors, it was GINORMOUS!!!!
If it's western, you'll find it at Cowboy Christmas. I lugged my poor husband around for 5 hours the first day, and two the second day in order to see all of the booths. We bought oodles of great Christmas gifts that I can't talk about right now in case little eyes are reading this blog.
It was so massive that for the first time ever, I thought there might possibly such a thing as too much of a good thing. I was overwhelmed for the first couple of hours.
Then I got over it's massiveness and began to shop for the whole family. I was too busy, and too loaded with bags to take any pictures of it, but I did snap one picture of the one thing that I LOVED but didn't come home with:
This crazy looking thing would have been so cool in my living room. I have tan walls with brown furniture and this would have really "popped" against the sea of brown. I would have put the TV on top of it, and the DVD player in the center cabinet with the rod iron design. I can just see it all right now. At $1350 it was out of my price range, but a girl can dream can't she?!?
As much as we loved the rodeo, and the shopping, and the people, we really don't care for Vegas. It's just yucky. I wish the rodeo festivities were in any other city but that one. We stayed in a beautiful hotel, and the lights of Vegas sure do shine at night, but it can't hide the oppression and filth that goes on there. With just under 48 hours in that city, we were ready to go home!
I took some photos of some of the highlights of the city to remember it by.
At the Entrance to Caesar's Palace, they had the statue dressed with a cowboy hat and rope to welcome rodeo fans to the hotel.
The strip was all lit up for Christmas, and there was even an outdoor ice-rink and Christmas music for guests.
The lobby of the Belagio hotel was gorgeous, and all decorated up for Christmas.
I got a kick out of this "art" piece found in one of the hotel lobbies. From what I know of Vegas, some folks come in like that, but most leave empty handed.
It was definitely a trip to remember!