Each summer, Casper gets a little more western when the nation’s top cowboys and cowgirls come to town. The College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) is the meeting of the world’s best college rodeo athletes as they compete for a national title. For more than 20 years, CNFR has called Casper home and to celebrate another memorable year on the horizon, we’ve rounded up a few ways to have the best week ever.
1. Attend the Rodeo Performances
All week, CNFR’s daily performances take center stage at the Casper Events Center. Athletes compete each day in saddle bronc riding, bare back riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying. In addition, there’s a trade show and special CNFR events all week long. On Friday, stick around after the rodeo for a free concert by Jake Maurer on the grounds of the Casper Events Center. .
2. Immerse Yourself in 10,000 Cowboy Boots at Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters
Arguably the most iconic building in all of Casper, Lou Taubert Ranch Outfitters in the heart of downtown is the place to find all things western in Casper. When you walk through the doors, you’re met with the distinct and charming smell of leather and the sight of thousands of cowboy boots— literally, the store keeps around 10,000 pairs of boots in stock! Even if you’re not in the market for western garb, the store stocks high-quality made-in-Wyoming gifts, decor and souvenirs. Plus, perusing the 55,000 square foot store is a worthwhile adventure in itself.
3. Get Western Downtown
Prepare for the championship events on Saturday David Street Station is hosting the Downtown Hoedown before the Championship performances on Saturday, June 15. This pre-rodeo festival will feature live country music (including the Jake Maurer Band and Lacy Nelson), a mechanical bull, beer and food trucks.
4. Get a Taste of the West
From hand crafted cocktails and brews to steaks cooked just the way you like them, Casper has something for every palate. Pro tip: head to the Backwards Distilling Company‘s new downtown tasting room or the newly opened Gruner Brothers Brewing for a post-rodeo libation. Their local grain-to-glass concoctions will give you a taste of the west with a twist.
5. Meet Wyoming native and Country Artist, Ian Munsick
Not only is Ian Munsick is one of the top up-and-coming country singer-songwriters in Nashville, he is a big rodeo fan and Wyoming native. Catch Ian Munsick before Wednesday night’s CNFR performance for a meet and greet and then head to Gruner Brothers Brewing after the rodeo for a special acoustic performance. Bonus: Bring your rodeo ticket from that night and get $1 off your first beer at Casper’s newest brewery.
6. Touch American History
Casper sits right at the convergence of several historic trails including the Oregon, California, Mormon and Pony Express trails. Evidence of westward expansion can be found all around the Casper area with museums, historic sites and living history around every corner. Experience what it was like to make the trek west with interactive exhibits at the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center or pull a handcart at Martin’s Cove. If prehistoric history is more up your alley, the head to the Tate Geological Museum and say hi to Dee the Mammoth, an 11,600 year old Colombian Mammoth discovered northeast of Casper in 2006.
7. Fish the North Platte
There’s no question that the North Platte River is home to some of the nation’s best fly fishing. With up to 5,000 fish per mile, we can’t promise you’ll catch something… but your chances are very good. The best part is, the North Platte runs right through the heart of downtown. Which means you wont have to go far from the rodeo action to hook a trophy trout. Pack your own gear or seek out one of our many trusted guides to take you out for an unforgettable day on the water.
8. Go Sneakin’ to the Beacon
Last but certainly not least, CNFR week in Casper means the perfect opportunity for a night of swing dancing at Casper’s country bar and dance hall, the Beacon Club. Locals and CNFR regulars know, rodeo week isn’t complete without a night of sneakin’ to the Beacon.