If you’re trying to shake off the winter blues, then there’s no better way to do that than with a 10-day trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. Each year during the first full week of December, the National Finals Rodeo is held at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Situated at the University of Nevada at 4505 S. Maryland Pkwy, the National Finals Rodeo is an event that attracts tens of thousands of people every year. It’s organized by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and is a premier rodeo event in the United States. In recent years, it has also been televised.
National Finals Rodeo is the last event of the rodeo calendar. It’s a prestigious event that celebrates world championship titles and those who earn the most money throughout their rodeo season. Such is the prestige of this rodeo that there is even special dirt stored at the university campus for this very purpose.
The stakes are high, and the environment couldn’t get any better. Crowds swarm for a taste of the rodeo action, and there are usually a whole host of music events held across Las Vegas to celebrate it. Watch the rodeo live then wander into the heart of Las Vegas for music, fun, and more.
Don’t let winter get you down. Dust off the RV, gather some friends and travel on down to where all the action is about to kick off in Las Vegas.
Tickets for National Finals Rodeo are in hot demand, which means you need to purchase them weeks or months in advance from the organizer’s website. Pricing varies depending on whether you are sitting in the balcony area, plaza, or you buy a Gold Buckle package. There are also season passes or individual day tickets.
While you should always be careful about driving in winter, at least you may not need to worry about excessive snow on site. Snow is rare in Las Vegas, but you may encounter some if you drive around the mountain ranges in Nevada and neighboring California roadways.
Though snow is unlikely to affect your travels, other visitors might. People flock to warmer desert areas in winter when they are more bearable to visit. Have your wits about you and allow time for delays due to congestion. You can receive this information live on traffic resources like NVRoads online. Once you arrive in Paradise (literally), the Nationals Final Rodeo is central to Las Vegas Highway.
The Thomas & Mack Center offers over 30 acres of parking, or equivalent to around 4,000 parking spaces. However, most of these are separated into small lots with car-sized painted lines.
If you require a larger space for your big rig, organizers encourage you to get in touch with them in advance. Alternatively, you can park at your accommodation provider and make use of the area’s brilliant public transportation to get you to and from the rodeo daily.
If you don’t feel like navigating the busy city streets in your RV, then you don’t have to do so. There are taxis, private ride service providers, and even a monorail in operation to get you to and from the rodeo. Book your preferred form of transportation in advance so you can arrive at the event in a timely fashion.
Onsite camping is not available at the National Finals Rodeo, even if you manage to find a suitable parking spot for the day. You will need to arrange for a campsite nearby to accommodate you for the ten days of the event. Fortunately, there are plenty of options, but you do need to book well in advance.
Even in a city as densely populated as Las Vegas, Nevada, you can still find somewhere peaceful to rest your head. There is a myriad of RV resorts and campgrounds even within a few miles of the event site. Some of them may even be quicker to walk from than to drive during peak traffic to the rodeo.
Once you navigate the 30 acres of car parking encompassing the event site, it’s usually smooth sailing from then on as you enjoy the rodeo events. You can make your way into the rodeo on foot and take your seat in the grandstand. For all parts of the rodeo, including entertainment in and around the facility, the easiest way to get around is on foot.
‘Chilly’ is an excellent way to describe the weather in Las Vegas during winter, but it’s not usually unbearably cold. Snow scatters the hills but often stays away from the heart of Las Vegas itself. You will need to layer up with jackets, scarves, and hats, but there may be no need for snow boots or ski gloves. Pack a few extra blankets to remain comfortable during those cold winter nights.
While you can pack as much as you require into your RV, such as cookware and utensils, it’s imperative to take only the basics into the rodeo itself. Organizer rules dictate that you must only bring in a small clutch bag, freezer bags, or clear plastic bags.
They must be of the dimensions outlined by the rodeo organizer and should be free from weapons, noisemakers, outside food and beverages, glass, thermoses, and laser pointers. Pop some cash into a ziplock bag with a few other essentials, and you’ll clear security in no time.
Given the venue type, you won’t need to concern yourself with sun-safe products, bug spray, or anything similar. If you need to bring any medical supplies into the rodeo venue, have it open and ready for a thorough inspection. You can leave everything else in your RV to speed up the screening process. If you’re a smoker, there are dedicated smoking areas outside the venue.
Each accommodation provider will have their own set of cooking and camping rules. You can safely assume you will be able to use your RV kitchen appliances, and some campgrounds will also allow the use of grills. If you need a few cooking supplies, you’re in the right place. Las Vegas is lined with convenience stores and supermarkets, some even close to the rodeo for everything you need.
If you plan to step outside your meal comfort zone on your visit to Las Vegas, then you’re in the right place. Even within a short walking distance of Thomas & Mack Center, you can be on the doorstep of many dining establishments. From Asian cuisine and BBQ through to Italian and fast food outlets, you’re spoiled for choice.
While vendor offerings can differ each year, the venue itself has its own range of food items to appeal to the fussiest of eaters. There is a concourse level in the building with pizza, nachos, hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, and more. There are also full-service outlets and bars for your convenience. Most will accept credit but bring cash as a secondary option.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association takes security seriously and has strict screening protocols in place for visitors. You can speed up this process by bringing a small clear back with only the essentials. Leave your handbags, coolers, and other bulky bags in your RV for use once the rodeo is over.
The average high in December in Las Vegas is a comfortable 57 degrees, which is more than acceptable for those who are used to far colder winters. However, it can drop to around 38 overnight, so you will need to bring a few extra blankets and warm layers. Snow may fall on the hills so take care around any mountain ranges in your travels to and from the area. Make sure your RV is well-serviced and that you’ve topped up all the fluids.
Whether you’ve caught a winter chill or you’ve injured yourself, you can seek medical assistance at National Finals Rodeo. There is a first aid area near the venue entrance and by the toilets. This site is stocked with basic supplies. In a medical emergency, dial 9-11 or travel to the nearest hospital two miles from the venue near the Las Vegas National Golf Course.