The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo return Dec. 5-14 to Las Vegas, and although much of the attention will be focused on the action inside the Thomas & Mack Center, you can still enjoy the rodeo even if you’re not attending. Here are six ways to get in touch with your inner cowpoke:
-- Get in the rodeo spirit in Las Vegas before the Finals Rodeo even begins with the Downtown Hoedown on Dec. 4 at the Fremont Street Experience. Country music singers including Joe Diffie and Chase Rice will perform on three stages starting at 4:30 p.m. The free country concerts continue through Dec. 15.
-- Catch all the nightly rodeo action on the giant screens inside the Race & Sports Book at the Mirage. At 10 each evening, the venue will host the Rodeo Vegas party, with country performers including the Casey Donahew Band (Dec. 7) and professional bull rider-turned-singer Justin McBride (Dec. 11). Admission is free.
-- Take in one of the world’s richest horse events as the World Series of Team Roping returns to the South Point Hotel. The world’s best ropers will compete Dec. 8-15 for shares of the $7-million prize pool.
-- It’s always “cowboy time” inside Gilley’s Saloon at Treasure Island, and the action ramps up during the rodeo. Guests can test their endurance on the mechanical bull, ideally before indulging in the special “Cowboy Up!” cocktail featuring Fireball cinnamon whiskey. Free line-dancing classes will be offered Dec. 5, 10, 11 and 12.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times