As summer turns to fall, most sports wind down for the season. The long days and even longer nights on the rodeo circuit will soon pay off for these dedicated competitors. However, the same cannot be said for rodeo. Two of the biggest events of the season happen in late October and early December in the form of the Professional Bull Riders Built Ford Tough World Finals and the prestigious National Finals Rodeo. These events draw crowds in the hundreds of thousands from all over the country, as cowboys and cowgirls converge on the sparkling city of Las Vegas to compete for top honors.
The PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals wrapped up over the weekend, and the event went down in history as one of the most exciting finals ever held. South American cowboys dominated the boards, with 2011 World Champion Silvero Alves taking top honors again in 2012. When asked about his special day, Alves remarked, "Every bull rider dreams of winning the world championship. To do it twice is very special." Fellow Brazilian Robson Palermo won the Vegas event, earning nearly 500 points to best the rest of the field. Legendary bull rider Chris Shivers announced his retirement in the 2012 season, effective after his stint in the World Finals. He didn't go quietly, winning rounds 2 and 3 in impressive style.
The National Finals Rodeo will invade Las Vegas at the beginning of December for a 10-day, cowboy-packed festival of rodeo fun. The top 15 contestants in each PRCA-sanctioned event will hit up the Thomas and Mack Center to duke it out for top honors and compete for more than $5 million in prize money. The race for World Champion can change in the blink of an eye, with cowboys and cowgirls within hundreds of dollars of each other in the standings. Fans by the thousands travel to Las Vegas to enjoy the NFR and take in the denim-covered scenery, turning an already busy town into a mecca of rodeo goodness. If you're looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Las Vegas during a finals event is not to be missed.