By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) – As another January in Colorado draws to a close, so does another National Western Stock Show in Denver. After missing the 2021 affair due to COVID-19, President and CEO Paul Andrews says he’s glad 2022 went off without a hitch.

“(It’s) A sigh of relief that we were able to put on a successful National Western Stock Show,” he said.

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It wasn’t a walk in the park though. The City of Denver imposed a mask mandate for the event. Something Andrews says their competitors didn’t have to deal with and ultimately took extra planning.

“We had to manage this carefully and people have seemed to rise to the occasion,” he said.

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He says the rise of omicron right before they opened made things even harder. In addition to masking, sanitizing stations were prominent throughout the grounds. He says it may have also kept attendees away either because they were sick or didn’t want to risk getting sick. Luckily, he was able to keep his staff relatively safe from the virus.

“Thankfully we only had about six staff members that were out due to COVID protocols out of 550,” Andrews said.

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As of the Friday before close, cumulative attendance was 494,145 people. That is down 112,236 people from 2020 when they saw 606,381 people in the same time period. Andrews said he expects the final weekend will make up those numbers, but either way he considers this year’s event a success.

“If you would have told me before Stock Show we would have more than 500,000 people maybe 600,000 people here, I would have said we will take that all day long,” said Andrews.

Michael Abeyta