By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– The 115th annual National Western Stock Show will not take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The massive trade show and rodeo will resume in January 2022. It was a tough decision for the Stock Show Association, and a devastating announcement for the thousands who take part every year.

(credit: CBS)

“With Stock Show being indoors, I knew that there would be a possibility that it would be canceled,” said Tara Zuber. “I’ve got two girls in royalty who were expecting to go to Stock Show and represent Park County Fair. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen.”

Zuber is heartbroken her family no longer has the Stock Show to look forward to, especially after having so many local shows canceled over the summer. Her six children are all involved with agriculture, but this would’ve been an especially big year for her 16-year-old daughter, Alice.

“It’s halter breaking, it’s making sure that they’re alright with the blower. It’s grooming them, it’s feeding them,” described Alice Zuber, when asked about the care that goes into her livestock.

While disappointed with the news, Alice and her family understand the need to postpone four months in advance.

“I’m glad that they canceled it earlier because it did give us enough time to not put the cost in that we normally would. Yes, we have the animals. Yes, we picked them up and they were bought for Stock Show. In reality, I’m glad that they called it in September and didn’t wait until October or November,” said Tara.

(credit: Tara Zuber)

Organizers at the Stock Show say they needed to make sure they announced the postponement early enough so all the livestock producers, competitors and exhibitors do not incur time and cost they can’t recover. If COVID-19 weren’t looming, the Zuber family would’ve invested more.

“We have two ewes and a ram that were supposed to come in for stock sell this year and we still have them. They’re great and we’ll show them again next year,” said Tara, who doesn’t regret the added family members. “During COVID, the livestock kept the kids busy. They had something to do.”

The family also has an ewe being transported from California for the Stock Show that arrives next week.

Alice was still able to show the calf she caught at last year’s Stock Show during the Park County Fair, but it’s not clear if that calf will make an appearance in 2022. She was holding on to hope for a January Stock Show, after several months of several canceled events.

“I was thinking the Stock Show is my next biggest show, so that’s what I’m going to spend my money on. When it was canceled, I was really sad and disappointed,” said Alice.

After spending time with her daughters behind the scenes at the Stock Show, Tara says it wouldn’t feel the same for families who have invested so much if it went on as a modified or virtual event.

“There’s a camaraderie in those barns. There’s so much more to showing the animals than just showing the animals,” explained Tara.

Alice and her little sister were going to represent Park County Fair Royalty in January, and Alice may not get the chance in 2022. But for this animal lover, it’s more about the stock than the show.

“I love the animals and it’s not like I’m just going to stop and say I’m done. I’m going to continue to raise them and I’m going to continue to love them and treat them as my little children and come back for Stock Show 2022,” said Alice.

At a news conference Monday president and CEO of the NWSS, Paul Andrews, said the current health rules in place regarding social distancing and large gatherings make it impossible for to provide an experience that fans expect at the show. He went on to say: “We also could not risk the possible financial setback to our organization, or our exhibitors that travel from more than 40 states and 35 countries, at great expense. We reviewed and exhausted, every possible option, including having a virtual show, but each model was rejected, either due to financial projections, or the risk of further spread of COVID-19.”

Tori Mason


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